Infinitely Polar Bear

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Mark Ruffalo, Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide in Infinitely Polar Bear
"Ruffalo is astonishing. He makes Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook look easy."

The title sounds like an in-joke. Polar bear/Bi-polar? Who knows? It's not exactly a marketing milestone.

Mark Ruffalo is involved in more ways than one. He plays Cam Stuart, the main man, and is listed as an associate producer. Is this his pet project? If so he should be applauded for his courage as well as his performance.

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Cam and Maggie (Zoe Saldana) met in the Sixties (sex, drugs and far-out guitar riffs - remember?), got married and had two daughters, Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide). He became a successful designer, a fun dad and an unpredictable husband. He didn't sleep around, but wasn't conventional either, and drank too much.

And then he suffers a nervous breakdown, is institutionalised, drugged up and told he's manic depressive. What can the family do? Cam is from a posh Boston family who have washed their hands of him. Zoe is Puerto Rican, beautiful and intelligent.

The girls find Dad difficult, irresponsible, a grown up baby. When Mom goes to Columbia Business School in New York, he is left in charge. Naturally he screws up and the girls learn pretty quick how to accept the situation and find ways of making it work - well, almost work.

Ruffalo is astonishing. He makes Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook look easy. Cam can be embarrassing, difficult to like and dangerous to know. He chain smokes, which in 2016 becomes irritating.

Ruffalo is so much of the moment you want to catch the next train to Normalsville. He throws out the charm factor in favour of real. It may hurt but cannot be criticised for insincerity. Wolodarsky and Aufderheide are the precocious side of wonderful. Only Saldana feels too good to be true. Maggie stands by her man, with never a hair out of place.

How perfect is perfect?

Reviewed on: 09 Feb 2016
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Infinitely Polar Bear packshot
A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility for their two young daughters.

Director: Maya Forbes

Writer: Maya Forbes

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Beth Dixon, Keir Dullea

Year: 2014

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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