Actor Mark Ruffalo gives an Oscar worthy performance in the new comedy-drama called INFINITELY POLAR BEAR. The strange title notwithstanding, this is a touching and funny little movie based on the true story of a manic-depressive man who takes on the responsibility of raising his two young daughters mostly by himself.
First time writer-director Maya Forbes is telling the story of her own childhood in this movie, and she cast her own child as one of the daughters.
Amelia (oldest daughter): My father was diagnosed manic-depressive in 1967…He met my mother and told her all about his nervous breakdowns. She didn’t care… So they got married and had me and then my sister.
But the marriage floundered especially after Mark Ruffalo as Cameron Stuart had a mental breakdown and lost his job.
Amelia: Why can’t Daddy live with us?
Mother: Daddy’s still recovering from his breakdown.
Faith (younger daughter): He’s a way better cook than you are.
Zoe Saldana as Maggie is the wife and mother whose own job isn’t enough to keep the family going. So she decides to go to business school hundreds of miles away, leaving Cam to take care of the girls during the week.
Though Cam tries hard, it’s obviously not an ideal arrangement.
Cam (outside a home in Boston): That is where your great grandmother, Gaga, grew up. Your great great grandfather was once the richest man in Boston.
Amelia: So how come we’re so poor?
Faith: Would you like to see inside?…
Home owner: Can I help you?
Cam: My great grandmother grew up in this house, and I wanted to show it to my girls.
Home owner: I’m sorry. I don’t give tours.
Amelia: That was so embarrassing!
Mark Ruffalo is utterly convincing as this unconventional bi-polar dad who is an awful lot like a kid himself. He even wants to be with his daughters when they go outside to play.
Cam: Can I come?
Faith: No, God!
Amelia: We’re hanging out with our friends….
Faith: Daddy, you can’t hang out with kids; it’s weird.
Amelia: We need to have our own life and you need to have yours.
Cam: I’m depressed.
Amelia: Of course, you are. Your dog ran away. Your family gives you just barely enough money to live off. And you annoy people.
Although his daughters often have to act like parents to him, Cam is a loving, creative father who takes pretty good care of them overall in this touching family story that feels as realistic as it is heartfelt.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.