Depression is delegated by medical practice to the realm of neuroscience, because no matter what causes it, the effect, as well as the cure, is defined by the mind. There are many explanations as to its origin – chemical, psychological, or genetic, but they are all beyond the ordinary mortals, like many of us, to comprehend. The simplest and most graphical illustration came from an acquaintance that has gone through the experience and sums it all up as, “like passing through the valley of the shadow”.
Walter Black (Mel Gibson), a toy company executive, is suffering from acute depression. Like all victims of his malady he withdraws from the world and tries all sorts of self-medication. He sleeps all day while his company is heading for insolvency. His family looks on helplessly and tries to get on with their lives. His wife, Meredith (Jodie Foster), immerses herself in work just to avoid the very stressful job of taking care of someone she loves who is not really “there” anymore. Even the kids think their father has gone “nuts” and Porter (Anton Yelchin), the oldest of the two, fears he will go the way of their father when he grows old that he’s been building a list of his similarity with Dad.
Walter becomes a total wreck when Meredith throws him out of the house and he decides to get drunk and end his life. His suicide plan fails and he wakes up to the Beaver, a hand puppet he can’t recall picking up from trash while he was under the influence, talking to him. Doctors know this as a manifestation of his other self and they have a name for it: DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. He has become a host to a puppet alter.
In a measure, the Beaver has helped Walter get back to life, and he returns home to reconnect with family. The Beaver takes control and revives the toy company but Porter remains unconvinced and still continues adding to his list.
Walter the Beaver takes full control over his host and makes a public appearance on national tv which was so humiliating to Meredith and Porter that they left him.
How he has regained total control of his life from Watch The Beaver Online, worked his way out of that bleak Valley of Absolute Loneliness, is a story we can all learn from, living, as it were, in the same overly demanding social environment as Walter.