Infinitely Polar Bear (Review)

Mark Ruffalo stars in this charming true story about an interracial family in the late 1970s who must deal with the severe manic-depression of the dad Cam Stewart (Ruffalo). After losing his job and reacting by taking his daughters out of school for a day in the great outdoors, Cam becomes increasingly unhinged and the mother Maggie Stewart (Zoe Saldana) tries to take her daughters away. Cam is eventually hospitalised and once released faces rebuilding his life and relationships while navigating through bipolar disorder.

Maggie, who is extremely bright and wants a better job and opportunities for the future, decides to study in New York. She can get her degree in 18 months but Her daughters will have to stay in Boston. Cam, unstable, ingenious, and desperate to regain the affection of his wife and the trust of his daughters; is enlisted to care for them while their mother is away. I need not spoil any more of the plot.

Mark Ruffalo gives a truly superb performance, utterly convincing as a sufferer of such a condition, and showing the positives as well as the negatives of the extreme highs and extreme lows of manic depression. Zoe Saldana plays her compassionate but firm role with panache, even if there is less scope inhabiting the ‘straight’ character. While Ruffalo gets to yell and upturn tables while chain-smoking his lungs away, Saldana has to own the quiet desperation of a black woman struggling to better herself amid 1970s racist and sexist attitudes.

The two daughters are played by Imogene Wolodarsky as Amelia Stuart, and Ashley Aufderheide as Faith Stuart. Both do well as distinct individuals and beloved sisters. In their scenes with Ruffalo they rib him and love him with an authenticity that is difficult to fake. Ultimately this film is and feels deeply personal, and despite the occasional moment of unease it is very uplifting. I hope it goes some way to lifting the veil on manic-depression, by showing that through the trials of mental illness it is ultimately vital human relationships that brings harmony to chaos.

Dotcom double deportation.

The government has the opportunity to deport Kim Dotcom to Finland or Germany — because he failed to disclose a driving offense when applying for permanent residence.

This is quite separate from the deportation proceedings regarding copyright infringement. That could see him sent to the US to face the disingenuous wrath of major Hollywood studios.

Many people want him gone. They don’t want to consider the nuances of his case for purely bigoted reasons. He’s German. He’s overweight. He’s rich because of his brain, his ability with technology. His political pursuits last year pissed a lot of people off, people who believe that outsiders don’t belong on the political stage.

Let not the racists out-scream those who distrust government and it’s cyber police. A significant amount of people — not a majority — don’t think deporting Kim Dotcom to the US is desirable. We face an important debate over the privacy of communications, and the future of copyright. Does it help the debate to silence one of its important voices? I think it’s an undemocratic and illiberal way forward.

The government needs a third way. It needs to satisfy the many who want the “Jabba the Hutt” of the Internet gone. It also needs to prevent the other group from mobilizing like they surely will if Dotcom goes stateside. Enter the convenient revelation that Kim went 149 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in 2009.
It’s up to the minister of immigration (Michael Woodhouse) to decide to deport him to Germany or Finland. The right thing to do politically is to take the opportunity.