Maya Forbes' autobiographical film, Infinitely Polar Bear, about her family coping with her father's bipolar disorder, is set in the late '70s, a time when few understood the impact of this mental malfunction. This smart feature may coincide with a hot topic in the Zeitgeist. Particularly as portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, there's no question that Cam Stuart was infinitely charismatic and fun to be with, at the same time, questionable as a stay-at-home parent. Maya Forbes' daughter Imogene Wolodarsky plays Amelia, the daughter most like her mother. When their mother Maggie (Zoe Saldana) goes to business school in New York, she leaves Amelia and little sister Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) with dad in charge in Boston, and all hell breaks loose in this very winning comedy.
It feels real because it is real, except that, as Forbes told me at the premiere at Above Sixty, she distilled a lot of the drama. So, you have to wonder about a man so delusional that he stays out in the cold wearing a bathing suit, or insists upon helping a neighbor to the point that he does not realize how menacing he appears to her. He has some good ideas too, like inviting the neighborhood kids over to their shabby, junk filled apartment, and entertaining them to the max. The girls come to realize just how special this man is. Fortunately the menschy charisma carries over to the real Mark Ruffalo. Many friends came to see him in the movie and party afterwards on Monday night, including Wes Anderson, Lena Hall, Kate Barker and Thomas Froyland, Josh Hamilton, and Bennett Miller who directed him in last year's superb Foxcatcher. As Sony Picture Classic's Michael Barker said in his introduction, Maya Forbes is a filmmaker to watch. The LA-based director is now developing a film to star Jack Black.
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