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INFINITELY POLAR BEAR (review)

l_1969062_38d8d28fINFINITELY POLAR BEAR
Written and Directed by Maya Forbes

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana and Beth Dixon

In Maya Forbes’ autobiographical first feature, INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, Mark Ruffalo plays Cameron Stuart, a man suffering from bipolar disorder (or manic depression, as it is called in this 1978-set film). Due to the stigma surrounding the disorder and Cameron’s recent hospitalization, he is unable to find work. He and his two daughters (Beth Dixon and Imogene Wolodarsky) rely on their mother/wife, Maggie (Zoe Saldana) to pay the bills. Unsatisfied with the work she is getting, Maggie jumps to accept a scholarship to earn her business degree in New York. When Cameron is left in Boston with their daughters, he must fight his disorder and strive to be a supportive father.

In a completely predictable turn, Cameron goes off his meds and it’s his kids that end up doing the parenting. You’ll really feel for the two little girls, as Ruffalo’s Cameron is completely exhausting. I only had to put up with him for ninety-minutes, but these kids have to do it for their entire childhood! It’s no wonder that his wife wanted to go to New York and leave him and the kids behind. Most of the humor in the film comes from Dixon and Wolodarsky as Cameron’s daughters, Pauline and Amelia. Their characters are very loveable, but many of their lines feel forced and unnatural.

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Ruffalo is very good in his role; almost too good. Ruffalo doesn’t play the bipolar character in a funny, loveable way as Bradley Cooper did in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. From his kids, to his wife, to their neighbours, no one wants to be around Cameron. While they can run away, you can’t. You’re stuck watching him until the credits roll, which can be taxing to say the least.

2.5 sheep

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