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| Courtesy Sundance Institute In the dysfunctional-family drama "Infinitely Polar Bear," Mark Ruffalo (left) plays a manic-depressive dad trying to care for two daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide).
Sundance review: ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’

"Infinitely Polar Bear"

U.S. Dramatic

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*** (three stars)

Mark Ruffalo gives an astonishing and heartfelt performance as a father suffering from manic-depression in writer-director Maya Forbes’ autobiographical drama "Infinitely Polar Bear." Ruffalo plays Cam Stuart, who suffers a breakdown when his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana) takes their daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky, the director’s daughter) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) away from him. But when Maggie decides to leave Boston for an MBA at Columbia, she reluctantly puts Cam in charge of the girls. The life Cam creates for the girls is full of creativity, but they find their father to be erratic and embarrassing. Forbes (whose writing credits include "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "The Larry Sanders Show") mines her family history for extraordinary detail of her father’s up-and-down moods, and gives Ruffalo the opportunity to create an indelible portrait of a loving but difficult dad.

-- Sean P. Means

"Infinitely Polar Bear" screen again at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Thursday at 11:45 a.m. at Prospector Square Theatre, Park City; Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Library Center Theatre, Park City; and Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City.

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