Infinitely Polar Bear was written and directed by Maya Forbes and stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana.
The movie tells the story of Cam Stuart, a man suffering from bipolar disorder, which in 1978, the time this movie is set, was referred to as manic depression and how his mental illness affects his family.
This is a great movie about mental illness because although the main character, Cam, played by Mark Ruffalo, causes his family a lot of trouble the movie does not demonize people with mental disorders. Maggie, played by Zoe Saldana, never holds a grudge against Cam or keeps him away from their children or treats him unfairly, she simply tries to do what is right for her children, which is keep them safe and secure.
This is also a fair representation of mental illness. This movie understands that living with a mental illness is complicated and living with someone who has a mental illness is complicated. You can tell that Maggie still loves her husband, but she is also trying to do what’s right.
At the end of the first act it is revealed that Maggie will be moving away to New York to attend business school. And from that point you can sort of see how the movie is going to work out. Maggie is going to take her kids away from Cam because of the troubles he causes them. Then Cam is going to have to work hard to overcome his illness and then right when Cam is starting to get better Maggie gets remarried and Cam can’t see his daughters again and that sends him into a downwards spiral and he has to overcome that and then when he does his wife takes him back and they are one big happy family again. And it is all very clichéd.
But luckily this movie doesn’t do that, this movie makes a twist on an old story, instead of Maggie taking the kids and moving to New York, she leaves to go to New York and leaves the kids with Cameron. I loved this sort of small plot twist, it made for a much more unpredictable and much more interesting movie.
Also I loved Zoe Saldana and the character she played. In the movie Maggie knows that what she is doing is risky and that something horrible could go wrong, but she is taking a risk and trusting her husband so that she can create a better life for her and her children. I love how strong this character is.
Once Maggie leaves for college we get to see the relationship between Cam and his daughters, which is wonderful to watch. Although unconventional and very haphazard, their relationship is very charming and it’s so enjoyable to watch the father embarrass the girls. I also loved see that because Cam’s daughters constantly have to deal with their father and take on more and more responsibilities as a result they seem to being grow up faster, they start to show some maturity at a younger age.
At the beginning of the third act, Maggie has graduated from Columbia, but can’t find a job in Boston, where the family lives. Knowing that taking the girls to New York, where she can find a job, would ultimately be bad for them, she makes another enormous sacrifice to work in New York and leave the kids with Cam in Boston. This is just another great plot twist that I enjoyed because usually in this sort of story one would expect that the mother would come back, after not finding a job and take the girls away to New York. But she makes the sacrifice and leaves the girls with her father.
In the last scene of the movie the girls are walking away from their father and they tell him not to stand their and watch them walk away because they know he’s just doing it to make them feel bad for leaving him. They know it’s not fair and what he’s doing is a manipulation but they look back anyways and wave to him.
This is a great way to end the movie because it shows that even though they have a rocky relationship, Cam and his daughters will always love each other and it ultimately gives hope for the fate of all of these characters because no matter what they all go through as the girls grow up they will stick together because they love each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and if you enjoyed this review then please follow this blog or leave a like, or if you would tell me I got something wrong, feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for reading.