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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Movie Review - Infinitely Polar Bear

Infinitely Polar Bear (2015)
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, and Ashley Aufderheide
Directed by Maya Forbes

I'm sure that director-screenwriter Maya Forbes' semi-autobiographical Infinitely Polar Bear creates at least a somewhat realistic depiction of bipolar disorder, but I unfortunately found much of her flick lacking believability, walking an odd and unbalanced line between comedy and drama and never making the most of either side of that coin.  Taking place in 1978, the tale follows Cam Stuart (Mark Ruffalo), who is hospitalized after a psychotic break.  His wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) takes their two daughters Amelia and Faith (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide) to a small apartment and is barely making ends meet when Cam is released from the institution.  While Maggie initially wants to keep Cam away from their kids, she soon realizes that as long as he stays on his medication, Cam is stable enough to watch Amelia and Faith.  Maggie decides to head off to college in order to try and provide a better life for her daughters, trepidatious to leave Cam in charge, but confident that this will eventually provide a better life for her girls.

The basic elements of the story are good enough, but as I mentioned, the film oddly leaps from humor to drama, failing to find a balance of any sort.  Mark Ruffalo is one of the biggest reasons for the film's disappointing outcome with his performance feeling like a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.  Granted, I understand this very well be characteristic of one suffering from manic depression and bipolar disorder, but in this movie, the two sides are amped up creating a character that never feels based in any type of reality, making ninety minutes feel infinitely longer.  In the end, Infinitely Polar Bear just doesn't work, taking a serious subject and failing to figure out what exactly it wants say about it.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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