2015 Los Angeles Film Festival

L.A. Film Festival Review: Infinitely Polar Bear

infinitely polar bearInfinitely Polar Bear directed and written by Maya Forbes tells the story of her upbringing alongside her sister, who were raised by their bipolar father while their mother moved to New York to pursue grad school in order to be able to support their family.

Forbes’ story brings to light the struggles of a mixed-raced family in the late-’70s, while dealing with a disorder that creates a sense of instability for everyone involved. The film also showcases one of Mark Ruffalo’s most endearing performances as Cameron.

Zoe Saldana also stars as Maggie, Cameron’s wife, who is forced to move into a small rent controlled apartment in Boston with their two young daughters, Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) after Cameron suffers a nervous breakdown forcing him to be relocated to a mental hospital.

As he recovers in a halfway house, Maggie struggles to make ends meet. Eventually as his condition improves with the intake of medication she suggest he take care of the girls while earns her MBA degree at Columbia in 18 months. While the plan makes both of them nervous, it is the only way she sees fit in order to help them improve their situation.

While Cam is tries his best at times the situation overwhelms him causing him to run out on his daughters in the middle of the night. Only to return to two frightened girls. All is not bad though, at some point he stays up all night in order to sew Faith a flamingo skirt.

Throughout the film both girls challenge and test him, while at times his attention towards them burdens them.

While at times the film’s interpretation of the disorder is light, it does a good job at conveying the ups and downs of it. It will make audiences laugh, cry, and yearn for a love like the one Cam has for his daughters and wife.

Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Cam is both heartwarming and convincing. It is perhaps one of his best performances, he is the one who holds the entire film together.

Infinitely Polar Bear gives a small glimpse into what bipolar disorder is and how it affects everyone around. Above all, this is the story of a family who truly loves one another regardless of what they have undergone in order to be where they are by the end of the film.

Infinitely Polar Bear – A

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