Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Infinitely Polar Bear

Infinitely Polar Bear
Starring:
Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide


Rated: R for language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date:  June 19, 2015 Released by: Sony Pictures

Late 1970s period piece based on writer-director Maya Forbes's life is not without its narrative hiccups or stock types, and not as lyrically unassuming as one may think; yet Infinitely Polar Bear, starring chameleonic Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Age of Ultron and Begin Again) is a comedic drama with its share of unsentimental truths to it which often resonate. The familiarity of a genre unfolding in this time frame does refrain originality possibilities in spite of the encouraging aspect of realizing a landscape that thespians can seize upon.

Ruffalo's turn as bipolar dad known as Cam from a high financial familial strata had an odd affecting realism to it living in Boston with his sharply clad, practical, if distant wife (Zoe Saldana of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar) trying to be a provider by going to get her MBA in the Big Apple. He dampens down emoting in the part that would seem intrinsic to it, investing much specificity to it. The physicality of a raspy man, often with a cigarette in his mouth, is evinced with a larger-than-life finesse which entails an abashed superciliousness.

Forbes uses delicacy and a decent perspective to elicit memories of her own childhood on the screen, which include Super-8 video recorded clips, with two young daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky - Forbes's real-life child) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide); the latter can do a little kitchen table artistry while the former can tickle the whites when she chooses. They wisely follow the lead of a tormented man with a sort of adorable charm, while also a bit eerie and humiliating with convincing reactions which many children have about parents who aren't of the manic-depressive variety.

A childhood with ups and downs is evident in a brisk "Polar Bear" not infinitely pleading self-aggrandizing or self indulgence too much while conscientious of daily life's little peculiarities which make much sense on their own terms. Nostalgic if a bit nagging, an evocative coming-of-ager demonstrates enough growth with solid performances, especially from a reliable Ruffalo.

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