Mark Ruffalo gets manic in this autobiographical feature debut from Maya Forbes.
Maya Forbes (USA, Gala Presentations)
Though it’s the weaker of TIFF’s two Mark Ruffalo mental-illness dramas (after Foxcatcher), Maya Forbes’s Infinitely Polar Bear can at least claim to be the more heartwarming. Ruffalo plays a fictionalized version of the director’s father Cam, a bipolar, Ivy-educated Bostonian whose recovery following a nervous breakdown is endangered when his partner Maggie (Zoe Saldana) heads off to business school at Columbia University. That leaves Cam as the primary caregiver for the couple’s two precocious tween daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide), who end up doing their fair share of the parenting.
Ruffalo nails Cam’s mania as well as his patrician bearing, and the preternaturally poised young women nearly steal the show, but this is an unevenly scripted feature debut for the otherwise accomplished Forbes. The film is at once delicate about the mixed-race family’s dynamics and dishonest about their class standing, minimizing Cam’s privileged origins (which surely fund his all-Lacoste wardrobe) to amp up the family’s financial struggles en route to securing the daughters’ private-school education: a fairytale ending, for blue-bloods.