Writer: Maya Forbes (Screenplay)
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Nekhebet Kim Juch, Manoah Angelo
Plot: A father struggling with bipolar disorder tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier.
Tagline – What it takes to keep a family together
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Mark Ruffalo is Fantastic
Story: Infinitely Polar Bear starts when Cam (Ruffalo) loses his job leading to him having another mental breakdown, his wife Maggie (Saldana) in an attempt to protect their children Amelia (Wolodarsky) and Faith (Aufderheide) forces him into an institute to help him overcome his struggles.
When Cam gets out of the home, Maggie has been struggling to make ends meet, which sees her needing to move from Boston to New York to study, the only thing is Cam must look after the children, working on his ability to get back into a routine, can Cam handle this responsibility for his family or not?
Thoughts on Infinitely Polar Bear
Characters – Cam is a bi-polar sufferer, when he is functional he is a brilliant man, but the pressure of his career brings out the depressive side of his nature, seeing hard to keep down a job and seeing his wife need to move his girls away from him during his darkest days. After seeking help, he must put his life back together which will see him take care of the girls, which sees him getting back into a routine he can handle. Maggie is Cam’s wife, she is trying to hold down a job, but needs to study to get to the next level of her career, she will have to move away for chance of an education, needing to let Cam raise their children, while she must decide whether to get back together with Cam. Amelia and Faith are the daughters of the couple, they both struggle to completely understand what their father is going through as they are being raised in a way, they don’t see their friends growing up in.
Performances – Mark Ruffalo is brilliant in the leading role, he shows how difficult like can be for a depressed to process each day, proving once again that he is one of the best actors around today. Zoe Saldana is wonderful too, giving the balance to show how difficult, but how much love can come from somebody that just wants to be there for somebody. Both the two child stars are great fun, giving us the genuine performance that you could see from youngster in the 1970s.
Story – The story here follows a husband and father that suffers from bi-polar that can’t functional in everyday working life, which means his wife needs to get a career, while he raises the children, something that wasn’t wildly accepted in the 1970s. This story does look into how mental health wasn’t wildly understood in the 1970s and being in the relationship can be difficult for both sides too. We watch how Cam tries to get back into a functional way to life, while his family needs to face difficult decisions about life for their daughters. This is based on the director’s childhood, so you can see the story having realism in how everything unfolds, without anything being over played when it comes to the mental health side of the story.
Comedy/Romance – The comedy involved in the film, does come off lightly as we look to get a chuckle at times, the romance shows us just how difficult the relationship between Cam and Maggie was, be it the marriage or her attempts to make a career for herself.
Settings – The settings in the film show the Boston lifestyle the family did have, it shows the quieter lifestyle is helpful for Cam.
Final Thoughts – This is a brilliant look at how mental health works with a family that didn’t fully understand the difficulties behind it, we get to see just how this family found a way to get through the toughest days in the 70s where Mark Ruffalo shines.
Overall: Brilliant look at mental health.