“INFINITELY POLAR BEAR” My rating: C+
90 minutes | MPAA rating: R
There are moments in “Infinitely Polar Bear” that feel so true and right that you just know they were lifted directly from the life of filmmaker Maya Forbes.
Starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, the picture is based on Forbes’ childhood, when for several months she and her younger sister were raised by their mentally troubled father while their mother earned an MBA.
When it comes to depicting the ups and downs of a person with bipolar disorder, this movie is right on target.
But Forbes has been unable to fashion these incidents into a compelling narrative. For all the authenticity of its situations, “Infinitely Polar Bear” (that’s the girls’ code for their father’s bi-polar issues) is an emotionally muted and frustrating experience.
Cameron Stuart (Ruffalo) is a loving dad, if an unreliable provider. The black sheep son of Boston Brahmins, he is unable to hold a job and supports his wife Maggie (Saldana) and his daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) with a monthly stipend provided by his rich grandma.
That’s just enough money to pay for a cheap apartment and food for the table.
Maggie, who has the patience of a saint, somehow copes with Cameron’s mood swings. Sometimes he is crazily active, seizing on some event or activity and devoting himself to it with religious zeal. This is why the apartment looks like hoarder central, littered with greasy bicycle parts and other projects that never quite get completed.