“We don’t want people to see how we live…”
From Writer and Producer Maya Forbes, who has brought us such films as DIARY OF WIMPY KID – DOG DAYS, MONSTERS vs. ALIENS and THE ROCKER, comes a tale forged from her own life experience, as we learn what life living with a manic-depressive father is all about, in her Directorial debut ~ INFINITELY POLAR BEAR.
As we meet the quirky, eccentric, and fully manic-depressive Cameron (Mark Ruffalo), the year is 1968 and he has cast aside his Blue Blood upbringing in Cambridge to live the life of a carefree nomad. When he meets the beautiful and accepting Maggie (Zoe Saldana), she finds him not only loveable, but she is more than willing to accept his form of “crazy”, as isn’t everyone in this era a little “off”?
Flash forward to Cam and Maggie’s lives now revolving around their two daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide), who have settled into their lives growing up deep within the woods of the Northeast.
When Cam becomes fully engrossed in one of his worst manic states to date, we find him riding around in nothing but his red underwear, as winter is setting in, as he desperately tries to convince his wife not to take the girls and leave him. Left with no other choice than to seek help for her husband, and remove her girls from this madness, Maggie is forced to have Cam committed for treatment, and takes her girls back to Boston, in order to find a job.
With his Lithium levels back on track, and his manic state a faint memory, Cam returns to his family, only to find that Maggie wants to live out her dream of returning to school in order to afford her girls a better life, and that she wants Cam to become the girls sole caregiver.
Determined to get this life straightened out ~ and his marriage too ~ Cam takes on the upbringing of his two girls as they forge out their new life together…only to find that the girls may be forced to take on the role of “PARENT”, as Cam finds parenting full-time, just might not be his cup of tea…
I give INFINITELY POLAR BEAR 3 out of 5 stars: Ruffalo gives a stirring and perfectly depicted performance as the manic-depressive father, showing that his full range of acting prowess is stilling being tapped upon ~ HULK WHO? The casting of Forbes own daughter Imogene as the older daughter Amelia was sheer genius too, as her scenes are absolutely real, memorable and sometimes heart-breaking, showing she can listen to her mama away from home as well! And the interaction between Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide was massively enjoyable too, as they played the roles of sisters/daughters with sheer precision throughout this film – these are two young actresses that have a big future ahead of them! I also enjoyed seeing Saldana on the big screen again, as I loved her in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, AVATAR and BLOOD TIES, but was in hopes as her scenes unfurled, that we would be getting more dimension from her in this role, but sadly, it just never happened. And another major pitfall for me with INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, was the fact that it felt like we didn’t see ALL THE MOVIE when it was through. This film ends in a way that left me feeling like I NEED MORE! You become so engrossed in Ruffalo’s character and the lives of this family, that you want to continue down their path of making their way in the world, and to see that they did MAKE IT! So, when it ended after only 88 minutes of film, I was stunned. It kind of made me want to reach out to Forbes to say, “Can you please bring everyone back to finish filming the last 30 minutes of this film, as I need more substance at the end before I can go home and feel that “your story” is totally complete…”