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(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 25min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
August 24, 2011
August 24, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] ... A stuffed beaver puppet that takes over a man's life

Production (US): Summit Entertainment, Participant Media, Imagenation - Abu Dhabi, Anonymous Content
Distribution (US): Summit Entertainment
Director(s): Jodi Foster
Producer(s): Steve Golin, Keith Redmon, Ann Ruark, Jeff Skoll, Mohammed Mubarak, Al Mazrouei, Paul Green, Jonathan King
Written by: Kyle Killen
Cinematography/Camera: Hagen Bogdanski
Music: Marcelo Zarvos
Film Editing: Lynzee Klingman
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: Mark Friedberg
Art Direction: Alex Digerlando, Kim Jennings
Viewed on Summit Entertainment DVD

"...and Jerry Mathers as The Beaver!" Nope.

When I first saw the title of this film I thought it was going to be a spoof of the 1957 to 1963 sitcom Leave it to Beaver with Ward (Hugh Beaumont), June (Barbara Billingsly), Wally (Tony Dow) and Theodore "Beaver" (Jerry Mathers) Cleaver playing the ideal suburban family. But I thought wrong. There is absolutely no similarities, no connection whatsoever with Leave it to Beaver. This movie really is about a beaver -- a stuffed beaver puppet that takes over a man's life and his very existence until the man cuts the beaver off. Literally.

Successful business man and CEO of his father's JerryCo toy company, Walter Black (Mel Gibson) has become depressed. He is suffering anhedonia and can take no pleasure in things that used to be enjoyable for him. The family man he once was is gone: "It's as if he's died but hasn't had the good sense to take his body with him." He sleeps almost all the time. His company has hit bottom. His family -- wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) and sons Porter (Anton Yelchin) and Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart) -- seems to be in "perpetual mourning."

Young Henry has become what his elementary school teachers call "solitary" because he feels unnoticed by his father. The eldest son, teenage Porter fears he might become just like his dad and is keeping notes of all the similarities between he and his father in hopes of preventing becoming like his father. Porter is a bright young lad who sells his talents to the highest bidder -- he cheats for money by writing papers for the other students at his high school. That is one way in which Porter is assuredly not like his father.

Now for Meredith. Meredith is an engineer who is working on roller coaster designs. She has drowned herself in her work to compensate the bizarre life they must all lead since Walter has become an emotional desert and seems to sleep all the time. Meredith is portrayed as both a loving, supporting wife and society's reciprocal of that. She gets to the point where she can no longer take Walter's depression. Walter agrees to leave.

On his way to his car after leaving a liquor store Walter finds there is no room in his car for his box of booze. He starts throwing things away to make room for his booze but notices a stuffed beaver hand puppet in the dumpster. At first Walter disregards the puppet and starts to leave but in moments he turns around and takes the puppet out of the dumpster. In his apartment during a drinking binge and with the puppet on his left hand, Walter tries to hang himself with his necktie from the shower curtain rod. Finding out that is not going to work he climbs on the balcony banister rail and contemplates jumping off. But in a startling moment the beaver puppet says "Oi" to Walter which causes Walter to fall back into his apartment and knock the TV off on him. When Walter wakes up the next morning the beaver starts talking to him ... using Walter's voice.

That is how the movie starts. From there, Walter finds purpose again through the beaver. So, Walter wears the puppet all the time from then on (to the end of the show anyway). Walter directs everyone to address the puppet and not him.

This plot is a unique approach to entertainment. Unique to me anyway and I have seen more than 1400 movies.

I will not spoil any more of the story but I will address that for which most of you come to our pages: the content. This film is R-equivalent in nearly every way. All six of the CAP investigation areas except Murder/Suicide (M) found content to be R-equivalent, as usual for PG-13 films, not because of any particularly invasive or extreme examples of assault on morality and decency but because of so many of the "lesser" kind of assaults (see our R-13 publication for more information on this technique of loading the content of films).

Both Mel Gibson and Jodi Foster performed in keeping with their award-winning high caliber but what they -- er, mostly the support cast -- performed was not of high moral caliber. With a final score of 42 out of 100 The Beaver will forever occupy space along side a plethora of other R-13 PG-13 films. Jerry Mathers' ears are probably burning.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual CAP investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 45 out of 100
Though there is no "R" gore in The Beaver there is enough of violence in it to be equivalent in magnitude to that of many R-rated films. Walter attempts suicide by hanging from the shower curtain rod. The only reason it fails is not because Walter did not try, it fails because of his weight being too much for the curtain rod. Walter further contemplates suicide by climbing on the banister of his balcony. Walter's son masochistically slams his head into the wall of their home. Repeatedly. In a long sequence Walter beats himself. At the end of the show Walter saws his left hand off. The act is unseen but it is heard and there is no doubt as to what he did.

It is ill-advised to embrace violence let alone in and as entertainment. God warns of such exposure being "catching" in Proverbs 16:29 as one example. Proverbs 16:29 warns that violence can lead one "into the way that is not good." As if the proverbial snowball made it through the subterranean location of exceeding thermal energy, man has chimed in on God's wisdom by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing their findings which warn that youth may be lead into real life violence by viewing violence in and as entertainment and they may be proselytized by example to believe violence is an acceptable means of settling conflict. But do we listen? Apparently you who read our reports do. Some parents have reported that they will not let their youth watch a film until they've "seen the CAP on it."

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty-three times someone spews profanity of one form or another, 11 of them by teens. [Eph. 4:29] Teen defiance of and disrespect toward parents is thick at times. [Exod. 20:12] Failure of a marriage is portrayed. And cheating is thick at times as well. [2 Tim. 2:5]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 29 out of 100
Adults appear in underwear a couple times. I ma going to take a moment or two and talk about that. "Adults in underwear? We see that even in TV commercials. What's the big deal?" How would you feel if your kids were taught by teachers in their underwear? Would you feel comfortable with a male teacher standing next to your daughter's desk in his briefs? What do you think the police would do? What would the police do if someone struts through the halls of a shopping mall in their underwear? Do you think a jury would listen to a lawyer in his/her underwear? I think the point is made.

In addition, a heterosexual couple are seen in bed making out, in a shower making out (nude with no gender-specific parts seen) and so on. Maybe Walter and Meredith were marriage in the film but Mel and Jodi are not. There is more as identified in the Findings section. This film is true to "PG-13" in terms of sexual immorality. [1 Thess. 4:1 - 7]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 41 out of 100
The PG-13 age stratum is particularly vulnerable (or embracing) of the influence of exposure to alcohol and drinking in and as entertainment. So sayeth the American College of Physicians (ACP).

A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    There is nothing to say that smoking in and as entertainment does not carry the same danger of influence as drinking. Actually, the same matter of behavior influence applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

    Offense to God (O) - 37 out of 100
    There is no sanctity in this movie for the majesty of the One who spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. God's name is abused seven times. Once by and adult and three times by teens without the four letter expletive and three more with it. Whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not or whether we care or not, God warns of consequences for abusing His name. [Deut. 5:11]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    No murders are portrayed. Though Walter attempts and contemplates suicide, the CAP Analysis Model does not permit unsuccessful murder or suicide into this investigation area. Such attempts and/or contemplations are incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include: --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior. --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs. --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others. --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. [This is one of the Ten Commandments!]
  • 2 Tim. 2:5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
  • 1 Ths. 4:1 - 7 (NIV) Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified [hagiasmos be kept or made pure]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you [hekastos: each, every, whether male or female] should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, exhibiting, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them.] and that in this matter no one should wrong his [autos: himself, herself, he, she, his, her] brother [adelphos: a fellow believer] or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish [unforgiven] men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you [humin: you, your, yourselves]. For God did not call us [hemas: us, we, our] to be impure, but to live a holy life. [All the gender-related definitions are included to show you these verses apply to women and youth as well as men. And "sexual immorality" (fornication - pornea), by definition, applies to all matters of sexual immorality, including incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, sex with animals and relatives, etc. All God's admonitions against sexual immorality can be summed us as any sexual contact (including visual and audible), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Beaver (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 45 out of 100
  • elementary school tormenting
  • attempted suicide by hanging
  • contemplation of suicide by jumping off balcony
  • reference to suicide
  • masochism, twice ([teen punching hole in family house wall with head)
  • long sequence of beating self
  • man sawing own hand off (unseen but heard)
  • blood splatter
  • amputation stump

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 23 uses of profanity, 11 by teens
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • negotiating cheating
  • cheating, repeatedly
  • martial separation with children
  • teen disrespect of parents, repeatedly of varying severity
  • teen lie to mother
  • defecation humor
  • teen girl leading teen boy through private area of mother's house
  • teen girl apologizing to teen boy for mother's "What are you doing" while the pair were in private area of the mother's house
  • reference to human feces
  • coaching to lie
  • teens defacing private property
  • teen showing shame at father
  • teen assault of father
  • lying
  • threat to end marriage
  • wife leaving husband
  • son calling dad by first name
  • background song singing of deceit to father
  • son defying mother

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 29 out of 100
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • adolescent name-calling with sexual theme
  • man in shower
  • teen boy in ten girl's bedroom at night
  • camera angle/pose to force viewer on private parts
  • very short skirt in high school
  • anatomical reference
  • man and woman making out in bed
  • man and woman in shower, obviously nude but no gender-specific parts seen
  • motions of oral sex
  • sexual name-calling
  • open mouth, lip sucking kissing between teens

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 41 out of 100
  • admission of teen buying illegal drugs
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, once
  • booze, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - 37 out of 100
  • seven uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, three of them by teens and three with the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted (only completed murders and/or suicides are incorporated into this investigation area -- the attempts at suicide were incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime)

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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