American audiences didn't respond to The Beaver when it opened here earlier this month, but at least director Jodie Foster and star Mel Gibson can take comfort in knowing their non-comedic film, about a depressed man who adopts the persona of a cockney-accented beaver and reengages with society, is doing well with the critics at Cannes.
According to Reuters, the film, which is being screened out of competition, received a "warm reception" at a critics screening today. The audience "laughed loudly several times [and] applauded at the end, with one spectator even whooping in delight." (We're guessing he wasn't Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian critic who just posted a scathing review suggesting that the film "might have been interesting if it was boldly, defiantly, autobiographical--with Gibson holding a toy Adolf Hitler puppet.")
The big-in-Europe buzz might not be enough to give the film--with domestic receipts over just $300,000--a second life with American audiences. As the Reuters report cautions, "introspective or psychological movies often go down better [at Cannes] than elsewhere." Presumably, dramas about men who adopt the personae of talking woodland creatures would fall under the category of "introspective or psychological."