3 items from 2014
With its based-on-the-director’s-life pedigree and stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, "Infinitely Polar Bear"—horrible title aside—sounds like many Sundance films past and present: a family struggles with mental illness, trying to keep one person whole while also keeping—or failing to keep—the family together. And after writing such good-to-indifferent big Hollywood product like "The Rocker," "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," you can hardly fault writer-director Maya Forbes for trying to create something a little more substantive and a little less glib. And yet, even based on her experiences, "Infinitely Polar Bear" is so phony that you can imagine the production budget being made up of three-dollar bills; it treats severe mental illness as a series of quirky, fun-sy tics; the circumstances of its characters are tortuously contrived; and every child character seems not like a real, living child but rather »
- James Rocchi
Intimate yet expansive, clear-eyed yet deeply personal, “Infinitely Polar Bear” marks an irresistible feature debut for writer-director Maya Forbes. Drawing on a tough but rewarding chapter of her own childhood, during which she and her sister were raised by their bipolar father while their mother went to grad school, Forbes brings a marvelous warmth and specificity to this story of a mixed-race family struggling to survive, aided considerably by one of Mark Ruffalo’s richest, most appealing performances. Retaining a hand-crafted feel even as it develops into a unique snapshot of evolving family dynamics and social expectations in late-’70s America, this assured crowdpleaser looks like an early candidate for Sundance-breakout status.
While Forbes divides the story among all four members of the unconventional Stuart clan, it’s perhaps her most empathetic gesture that she places the viewer’s primary point of identification with the family’s most problematic individual. »
- Justin Chang
The Solution Entertainment Group will handle international rights to Emmy-Award nominated writer Maya Forbes’ directorial debut Infinitely Polar Bear starring Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are Alright) and Zoe Saldana (Star Trek), it was announced today by The Solution Entertainment Group’s (“The Solution”) founders and partners, Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel.
The film will make its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic section. ICM Partners will be handling Us rights.
The film is produced by Emmy-winning Wally Wolodarsky along with Paper Street Films’ Benji Kohn and Bingo Gubelmann (Happythankyoumoreplease) and Park Pictures’ Sam Bisbee and Galt Niederhoffer (Robot & Frank).
The year is 1978, and the Stuart family is struggling to hold it together. »
- Michelle McCue
3 items from 2014
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