In the late 70's, in Boston, the bipolar Cameron "Cam" Stuart lives with his mulatto wife Maggie and their daughters Amelia and Faith in an isolated house in the countryside. When Cam is fired from his job, he has a mental breakdown and Maggie is forced to institutionalize him. When he is released, he moves to a small apartment while Maggie works to support the children. She decides to apply to an MBA to improve her income and she is accepted by the Columbia University in New York. She asks Cam to take care of the girls for eighteen months and he agrees despite his fears. Maggie moves to New York and Cam is responsible for Amelia and Faith education. Will the scheme work? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There is a brief shot of the two daughters standing together at the end of a long corridor and facing their father while he is acting crazy. The camera angle, and 1970's color scheme seems to copy the infamous scene in The Shining (1980), where the creepy twin girls appear, while Danny is riding his tricycle around the hotel's corridors. Danny's father, played by Jack Nicholson, also suffers from a mental illness in The Shining (1980). See more »
On a book shelf there are various board games in the background, including "Trivial Pursuit." The movie is set in 1978, Trivial Pursuit was not released on the market until 1982. See more »
My father was diagnosed manic depressive in 1967. He'd been going around Cambridge in a fake beard calling himself Jesus John Harvard. When he got better, he started working in public television in Boston. He met my mother there. He walked up and took her picture. On their first date, he took her on a driving tour of New England and told her all about his nervous breakdowns. She didn't care. She said it was a crazy time. Half the people they knew were going bananas. So ...
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Everybody does a decent job in 'Infinitely Polar Bear' except for the screenwriter, who never develops a genuine narrative arc for her film after its brief introduction which depicts the mental breakdown of an ex-Harvard student called Cameron. This episode is followed by a couple of minutes glossing over the period he spends in institutional care, while his wife Maggie struggles to raise their two young daughters as a single mother.
The story begins for real after Cameron is released and starts living in a halfway house in the Boston suburbs. When Maggie is accepted into an MBA program in New York, she asks him to take over housekeeping and parenting duties while she's absent, and Cameron moves back into the family home with their children. Unfortunately the threesome's chaotic life together is portrayed with only slight variations in tone. The film soon develops a enervating tedium as it rolls out a seemingly endless sequence of similar scenes documenting how the two girls cope with their father's mood fluctuations. This shortcoming is exacerbated as writer/director Forbes chooses to depict only the surface symptoms of Cameron's mental condition, and declines to offer a satisfactory resolution at the end. Manic depression deserves something better than this glib treatment.
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