Infinitely Polar Bear
Autumn 2015 Features series
Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Maya Forbes
Screenplay by Maya Forbes
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, and Imogene Wolodarsky
Rated NR ·
A loving husband and father struggling with manic depression (Mark Ruffalo, Begin Again, The Kids Are All Right ) is forced to raise his two young daughters on his own, in this moving and inspirational drama based on writer-director Maya Forbes’ own childhood experiences. This lovingly detailed, bittersweet debut careens between laughter and anxiety as it invites us into a singular family’s chaotic home.
Raising a family is not easy for anyone, but the Stuarts are a little more challenged than your average parents. Cameron Stuart (Ruffalo) has suffered a nervous breakdown and been diagnosed with manic depression, a highly stigmatized label that, in 1978 Boston, renders him virtually unemployable. Maggie Stuart (Zoe Saldana) works hard but cannot quite make ends meet. They are highly educated and completely broke. They also have two precocious young daughters to care for.
A solution presents itself, but with it come unnerving risks: Maggie accepts a scholarship to pursue her business degree in New York, which means leaving Faith and Amelia in Boston—and solely in the hands of their father. Infinitely Polar Bear chronicles the eighteen-month period in which the aggressively gregarious, always unpredictable Cameron struggles to cope with his condition and become a viable single parent to the little girls he so clearly loves.
Humour and heartbreak alike are on offer as we witness Cameron stumble in his attempts to be a good neighbour and engaged father while attending to his wildly varying moods and impulses. For every misstep, there is evidence of Cameron’s fierce love, and Ruffalo performs the remarkable feat of keeping his character utterly sympathetic even in his darkest, most irresponsible moments. We can see plenty of problems and peril in the Stuart family, but, if we look closer, we can also see their wondrous gifts.
“The movie is a small miracle, lifted by Ruffalo and these two remarkable young actresses. Refusing to soften the edges when Cam is off his meds, Ruffalo is a powerhouse. He and Forbes craft an indelibly intimate portrait of what makes a family when the roles of parent and child are reversed.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
“Written with wit and nuance and sensitively directed by Maya Forbes, who makes a formidable feature-film debut, this is a movie that informs and entertains, with a centerpiece performance by the great, often underrated and always surprising Mark Ruffalo.” (Rex Reed, New York Observer)