Yesterday I watched the movie “Infinitely Polar Bear” at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in NYC.
This a a touching, poignant movie based on a real story. Maya Forbes wrote and directed the movie, in which she tells the story of her family, a father who was the son of a prominent Boston family, a black mother, and their two young daughters. Maya’s role is played in the movie by the director’s real-life daughter. Forbes shares with us the memories of childhood growing up with a loving father who suffered from bipolar illness, the family’s life on the brink of poverty despite the father’s wealthy background, and the heroic and complicated decision by her mother, who goes back to graduate school and then embarks on a demanding career to support the family.
While it is clear that the story was full of painful times, what comes across is the father’s genuine love and his ability to put this love for his children beyond anything else. Forbes describes her father’s struggle and capacity to put his children’s well-being above his own needs in ways that many high-functioning parents without the burden of a bipolar illness would find challenging. The movie is a bravely personal story and a profound statement about bipolar illness. It highlights the healthy aspects of the personality that remain intact and shine through despite the dysfunction related to the episodes of bipolar affective disorder. It also captures the premature growing up and the difficult choices that are forced upon those living with spouses and children with bipolar illness.
You can learn more about the movie at http://sonyclassics.com/infinitelypolarbear/ .