In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb darkest hour ver3

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour stands apart from more routine historical dramas.

Thumb man who invented christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Not particularly keen on nuance or subtlety, this is a film in which everything, especially Stevens’ decidedly manic take on Dickens, is pitched as broadly…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary infinitelypolarbear 2014 1

Sundance: "Infinitely Polar Bear"

Here in Park City, reports lamenting the dismal state of public transportation have, shockingly enough, not been exaggerated. Of course, I wouldn't mention the tardiness of the public transportation system if it hadn't consistently hindered me (and many others) from seeing films.

After showing up to the wrong theater for my "Ivory Tower" screening, I experienced the not-so-salient issue firsthand in an attempt to catch a press and industry showing of "Obvious Child." Unfortunately, a 1-mile ride from Main Street to the Yarrow Theater took nearly 30 minutes, preventing me from getting into the movie. This was a recurring trend Saturday.

Advertisement

And so as one often does at hectic festivals, I jettisoned my schedule and lined up for my next film, Maya Forbes' '70s-set and inept "Infinitely Polar Bear." Spanning two years, Forbes' directorial debut tells the story of a family grappling with the mental illness of Cameron (Mark Ruffalo), a bipolar father and husband who recently suffered from a nervous breakdown.

The film isn't about his recovery though, at least in the traditional sense. Cameron's wife Maggie (played by Zoe Saldana) has decided to accept a full ride to Columbia business school, invariably leaving their two daughters with him. Rash as that may sound, Maggie puts her absolute faith in Cameron's abilities to be a good and responsible dad while she chases after her professional dreams.

While there's an earnest nature to the film that's hard to dislike, "Infinitely Polar Bear" (which I think may be the worst title of the festival, or ever) is loaded with enough manipulative screenwriting and aggravating contrivances to make connecting to the story nearly impossible. For example, Cameron comes from family of money, but is only allotted a certain amount to pay rent on his, as his unbearably bratty and annoying two daughters call it, "s***hole" of a home. While Cameron and his family live in squalor, the elder Stuarts are ensconced in a sumptuous mansion.

Even the selection of the time and place seem forced. Set in Boston circa 1978, of course Maggie's decision to momentarily leave behind her family is frowned upon. Maggie suggests early on in the film that the number of female breadwinners in that era is next to zero, especially those of color. (Whether that is true or not is a separate matter.)

What amounted to be the most entertaining element of my "Infinitely Polar Bear" screening was not the film itself, but a gentleman who sat directly behind me. Through the last thirty minutes of the movie the middle-aged man loudly snored as if he was lounging on his living room couch. Audience members around him were either unfazed by the booming sound or simply laughed it off. Anyway, as critic and scholar James Rocchi can attest, I did the latter to the point of tears. Whoever you are, God bless you good sir. You managed to single handedly punctuate a borderline dreadful film with your obnoxious snoring.

That was a moment I'll probably never forget here at Sundance.

On tap for Sunday: "Ping Pong Summer", an interview with Lynn Shelton, "Life Itself" and more.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

Netflix's Marvel Spin-off "The Punisher" is a Lightweight

A review of Netflix's new Marvel series, "The Punisher."

60 Minutes on: "Wonder Woman"

One of the best superhero films, in large part because the title character sincerely believes in values larger than a...

William Peter Blatty: 1928-2017

The work of the late author, writer and director William Peter Blatty will continue to haunt the dreams of readers an...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus