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The Beaver

Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Cherry Jones, Anton Yelchin, Riley Thomas Stewart, Zachary Booth, Jennifer Lawrence, Kelly Coffield, Michael Rivera, Matt Lauer
marijuana | Duermadres | nicotine
Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!
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Narrator (The Beaver): “This is a picture of Walter Black, a hopelessly depressed individual.” (0:01)

Psychotherapy session, presumably with psychiatrist Dr. Macy. (0:01)

Walter opens his medicine cabinet replete with prescription bottles labeled “-empadrixil,” “Duermadres” (0:01)

The Beaver, referring to Walter: “So mostly, what he does is sleep.” (0:02)

Narrator: “Walter’s depression is an ink that stains everything it touches...” (0:03)

His friend tells Porter it’s “More than I pay for weed.” (0:05)

Walter tries to hang himself from the shower curtain rod with a necktie, but the rod breaks. He stands ready to jump from the balcony, but, startled by The Beaver’s voice, he falls backward instead. (0:09)

The Beaver tells Walter, “Look at you, stone drunk and flattened by a television.”
”You’re depressed. Lethargic. Anhedonia.” (0:11)

Meredith reads from the card Walter handed her, “The person who handed you this card is under the care of a prescription puppet.”
“The person who handed you this card is under the care of a prescription puppet designed to help create a psychological distance between himself and the negative aspects of his personality.” (0:16)

Porter tells Norah, “Because it’s one thing for your little anorexia squad to get by on their looks.” (0:19)

Porter asks Walter, “Have you completely lost your mind?”
“I’m not talking to you nut job.” (0:20)

Porter asks Norah did she “Chew some nicotine gum?” (0:28)

Meredith asks Walter, referring to Dr. Macy, “Did he give you some kind of a timeline, when the treatment might be over?” (0:39)

Porter paints “RIP Brian” (Meredith’s brother) on a wall. (0:47)

The Beaver tells Meredith, “He’s suffering from depression, not amnesia.” (0:49)

Meredith tells Walter, referring to Dr. Macy, “He said this sounds like some kind of a mania.”
”This is insane.” (0:56)

Meredith tells Walter, “If you’re determined to lose your mind, well I can’t stop you... Insanity may play at the office...” (0:58)

On The Today Show Matt Lauer tells Walter, “So people have to doubt your sanity a little.”
“Walter, I want to talk about depression, because the way it’s been told to me this whole thing started as a way to deal with your mental illness.”
The Beaver: ”And no matter how we try to escape, self-help, therapy, drugs... Starting over isn’t crazy. Crazy is being miserable... Crazy is pretending to be happy... ” (1:01)

The Beaver: “This is a picture of Walter Black, a hopelessly depressed individual, who becomes the Beaver...” (1:03)

Porter tells Norah, “I’m an idiot alright.”
“Look, your brother OD’d, alright?”
Norah: “You and your psycho family.” (1:03)

Walter saws off his arm at the elbow to get rid of The Beaver. (1:11)

Meredith and Henry visit Walter in a psychiatric hospital.
Henry asks Walter, “So, are you crazy?” (1:15)

Psychotherapy group in hospital. (1:19)

In her valedictory address Norah talks about the loss of her brother. (1:21)

Porter goes to the psychiatric hospital to visit Walter. (1:21)

Replete with metaphor, this film challenges our models (Beavers systems model?) for depressive disorders and personality. It also supports a systemic view in which we can view the illness as a problem among the members of a family rather than simply residing in the identified patient. We see evidence for multigenerational transmission, even with what little we learn about Walter's relationship with his own father. What does Walter's seductive flight into health (corrective emotional experience?) using the puppet to reveal elements of his personality tell us about goals in psychotherapy?