‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ Review: It’s Not About Bears

Infinitely Polar Bear, which opened in American theaters in a limited release on June 19, is not about bears.

Instead, viewers will find Avengers Assemble star Mark Ruffalo, who plays a bipolar, manic-depressive father in this charming story. Ruffalo’s character in Infinitely Polar Bear is married to Maggie, played by actress Zoe Saldana, known for her work in Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy. The couple have two daughters, played by actresses Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide, according to IMBb, both in their first credited roles.

In Infinitely Polar Bear, we revisit New England life during the 1970s. Ruffalo’s character Cam Stuart suffers from mental health issues, and he’s forced to take care of the couple’s two young daughters while Maggie is off obtaining an MBA from Columbia University. As Providence Journal explains, the movie displays the next 18 months in the family’s lives with Cam being the centerpiece for the movie.

Maya Forbes makes her directorial debut with Infinitely Polar Bear. The movie, which she also wrote, is a biographical tale about her father. The title of the movie itself is a play on words using language a kid might call the mental disease bipolar at a young age. Forbes is a Hollywood veteran who is best known as a writer for projects such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and The Larry Sanders Show. As reported by Oregon Live, her white, mentally-ill father and African-American mother met and were married in Boston during the 1960s. Together, the couple worked at WGBH, a Boston public television station.

Newsday’s review of Infinitely Polar Bear was heaped with praise, as most reviews thus far have been.

“The film is enormously charming and funny, thanks to the centerpiece performance by Mark Ruffalo… [I]t’s a story about real love and a real family, and by definition comes equipped with peculiarities. In this case, they’re just a little more peculiar, and dramatic, and certainly compelling.”

Infinitely Polar Bear continues the critically-acclaimed work Mark Ruffalo has displayed over the years. While audiences may identify him with Dr. Bruce Banner in the Avengers series, his roles since his breakout performance in 13 Going on 30 in 2004 have been characters who have wooed critics with his acting abilities. He’s received two Oscar nominations for supporting roles in Foxcatcher and The Kids Are All Right. Ruffalo may be up for another award this year for his role in Infinitely Polar Bear. According to IMDb, the next movie fans can catch Ruffalo in will be Spotlight, set for release in November 2015.

[Photo: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images]