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Can We Accept Mel Gibson As An Actor?

This is likely a little late, but I just had the pleasure of enjoying Mel Gibson’s performance in The Beaver. There is an honesty and a sadness in his performance that is (truthfully) lacking from George Clooney’s heralded performance in The Descendants. While Clooney is fine, I felt like something was missing. Maybe it has something to do with Clooney’s tabloid scandal free life, but he’s missing a little bit of depth, something that Mel Gibson actually has in The Beaver. There’s an honesty to his characters depression that makes you realize that not just his character is going through this, but so is the actor.

Not many people saw The Beaver in theatres. It failed to make even a million dollars domestically, despite Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, and Jennifer Lawrence toplining the film. Made for a cool 21 million (that’s right, 21 million), The Beaver became a bomb. Is there anything particularly wrong with the film? No. While it’s not one of the best movies of the year, it did score a positive 62% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I suppose what I’m saying is that it’s time to get back in the Mel Gibson game. Somewhere along the way, we became interested in the stars personal lives, and how it all played out. What’s ridiculous is that Gibson is being held to a different standard than other stars. We’ve forgotten about Robert Downey Jr.’s coke habit, or Alec Baldwin’s phone rant to his daughter. We’ve given a pass to Nick Nolte (who is currently a frontrunner for a Supporting Actor nomination for Warrior) and Mickey Rourke. Snoop Dogg was on trial for MURDER, and NBC just gave him a development deal for a family sitcom.

Yet somehow, Mel Gibson’s terrific performance in The Beaver (which gained attention on The Black List for being one of the truly great undiscovered scripts) goes unnoticed because people are concerned about what they read in the tabloids. What did he say to his wife? Does he hate jews?

Lars Von Trier recently got caught up in a Nazi scandal, yet that hasn’t stopped critics from declaring the brilliance of Melancholia, or Kirsten Dunst from being a legitimate Oscar contender. People still watch Meloncholia even though Trier might be a Nazi sympathizer.

The simple fact is, we never started liking these actors because we thought they were great family men. We connected with them because of what they brought to their characters on the screen. It’s time to give Mel Gibson a break, because he’s a tremendous actor that demands your attention. Watch The Beaver and tell me I’m wrong.

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