Infinitely Polar Bear is a charming film, that takes you on a journey into the lives of one family that despite their own hardships is able to overcome extraordinary situations and limitations with the help and love of one another. The film is brought to life by a group of characters that you fall in love with for both their faults and triumphs. With a solid script, beautiful performances and great direction, this intimate story that was inspired by writer/director Maya Forbes life, was quite possibly the most heartfelt and enjoyable films of this years Sundance Film Fest.
- Director/Writer: Maya Forbes
- Producers: Wally Wolodarsky, Benji Kohn, Bingo Gubelmann, Sam Bisbee, Galt Niederhoffer
- Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide
Set in 1978, and the Stuart family is in trouble. After their dream life is torn apart by their father’s nervous breakdown, their mother has to leave them all behind to keep food on the table. Meanwhile their father, who is plagued by mental illness, has to figure out a way of becoming a dad to two little girls who need him until his wife can return.
- Mark Ruffalo: Though all the actors five great performances in this film, Ruffalo steals the screen with his risky and endearing portrayal of a man who suffers from Manic Depression and Biolar Disorder (or polar bear as his young daughter sweetly calls in). Ruffalo’s bold and honest performance of the highs and lows of the character makes him truly a wonder to watch.
- Honest Illness: Mental illnesses can often be used in films as a dramatic device, but in this film, though there are big explosions, it’s the nuances and the dynamics between the characters that that allow you to understand both the characters and the sickness in a whole new way. The film eloquently shows the range of emotions and experiences that come with someone who suffers from a mental illness, and how this one family both suffers and thrives as they figure their way through it all.
- Highly Invested: Much like the characters, you’re never quite sure what is going to happen next, leaving you feeling highly involved in the characters lives. With an amazing script that allows you to empathize for their faults and love them for how hard they try to overcome them, this is a little film that manages to feel much bigger and more important than it may seem at first glance.
- Honest Dialogue: Without knowing how much of this was script or improv on set, the dialogue between all the characters felt extraordinarily honest, again, pulling you in closer to the story and the characters. Perhaps some of this was pulled from Forbes own experience, because the dialogue managed to somehow be both over the top and yet simultaneously grounded. No matter how she pulled it off, she did it well and it made for an extremely strong film.
This a beautiful, witty, heartfelt film that has the ability of becoming and indie-darling with legs. It in no ways feels small, everything about it feels somehow incredibly important.