Infinitely Polar Bear (2015)
Critic Consensus: Infinitely Polar Bear handles its thorny themes with a somewhat troublesomely light touch, but Mark Ruffalo's complex performance keeps the drama solidly grounded.
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as Murray Stuart
as Amelia Stuart
as Faith Stuart
as Bus Driver
as Pauline Stuart
as Mr. Fabrini
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Critic Reviews for Infinitely Polar Bear
Ruffalo is generally wonderful at finding the tone and mood of a character and holding to it; here he has to bounce about, but again he latches onto a consistent energy that makes Cameron a singular life force.
"Infinitely Polar Bear" is a much-needed reminder that the realm of film is still a place to encounter something other than comic-book scenarios.
Forbes' sweetness of tone and wise casting makes "Infinitely Polar Bear" irresistible.
As is the way in these Sundance movies, there are moments of beauty, nothing much happens, and at one point somebody runs through the woods.
Forbes' drama is very moving and has great compassion for Cameron, without turning him into some sort of saint or excusing him for his recklessness.
Audience Reviews for Infinitely Polar Bear
"Infinitely Polar Bear" showcases the talents of Mark Ruffalo in a role unlike anything you have ever seen him in before. Dealing with smoking, drinking, and mental issues simultaneously, his wife leaves him until he is fully recovered. Broke and alone, he comes back home to take care of his kids as his ex-wife leaves to New York to attend school. This film really does center around Mark Ruffalo's character and his arcs are incredible to watch unfold. In the end, this film is a very well-written, well-acted, and well-directed character study that definitely deserves it's awards talk/ "Infinitely Polar Bear" is terrific!
Infinitely Polar Bear seeks to put a smiley face on dad's affliction. That colors this account as a very shallow production. The lives of Father and his 2 daughters are presented as a series of highs and lows with little insight into any of it. As the filtered recollections of a child, that would explain the lack of sense. Obviously the autobiographical tale is a personal project for Maya. Her husband, Wally Wolodarsky, even co-produced. She presents this earnest drama as a sugarcoated valentine to her father who passed away in 1998. I'll give the chronicle points for heart and sincerity. But Maya Forbes can't seem to make the events in these people's lives seem like anything more substantial than quirky gimmicks. The production is merely a whimsical roller coaster of contrivances designed to tug at your heartstrings. Infinitely Polar Bear comes across more like a sunny sitcom called My Goofy Dad than a thoughtful portrait of a man suffering from a serious mental illness.
If you've seen Foxcatcher, The Kids Are All Right or The Normal Heart, then you should know that Mark Ruffalo is one of the best actors on the planet. He only strengthens that notion in Infinitely Polar Bear, a hilarious and heartbreaking story of a family facing tough times.
The place is 1970's Boston, and Ruffalo is Cam Stuart, a manic depressive--'polar bear' is how Cam refers to being bipolar--whose antics and constant unemployment have alienated him from just about everyone in his family. It's no easier for his closest kin---wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and their daughters, Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky), and Faith (Ashley Auferheide).
A crisis is born when Maggie decides to pursue an MBA at Columbia. She wants the best education she can get for her kids and can't get any financial help from any of Cam's blueblood relatives, whose contributions barely make an impact. It means she'll have to be in New York for 18 months, home only on weekends, leaving Cam in charge of the girls.
If you're having trouble buying this, then know this: writer-director Maya Forbes, in her feature debut, is telling her own story. Wolodarsky, Forbes' actual daughter, is playing her mother as a child and she is superb.
The movie is a true miracle, elevated by Ruffalo's tender performance and two remarkable young actresses. Ruffalo is an absolute wonder, refusing to sugarcoat or soften any of Cam's edges. Together with Forbes they craft and indelible, vital portrait of what a family is when the roles of parent and child are reversed. It's a gift.
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