Mark Ruffalo plays a dad on the brink tasked with raising  his two daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide)

Mark Ruffalo plays a dad on the brink tasked with raising his two daughters (Imogene Wolodarsky and Ashley Aufderheide)

Complex family drama has a sweet side

Film Infinitely Polar Bear, presented by the Vernon Film Society, looks at a father raising a family while dealing with mental illness.

The Vernon Film Society’s second film of the fall season is Infinitely Polar Bear.

This movie, which is based on a period in the life of director Maya Forbes, tells of a time in her childhood when her bipolar father was looking after both her and her sister while their mother attended university in New York.

In the film, the father, Cam (Mark Ruffalo), comes from a wealthy Boston family but struggles to keep his family afloat as his periods of mania mean his fathering skills leave a lot to be desired.

He can be a very loving, exciting and fun dad to his two daughters, one of whom is played by Imogene Wolodarsky and is the real-life daughter of director Forbes and producer Wallace Wolodarsky. (Ashley Aufderheide plays the younger daughter).

He spends one night sewing a flamenco costume for a school production, cooks elaborate meals, but leaves the girls to their own devices while he goes to a bar, buying drinks for all and sundry.

As Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail states, “This is ultimately a feel-good movie with some poignant moments.”

It gives an insight into how families cope with mental illness. Although Forbes lived through this, she shows how ultimately she survived and went on to a very successful career in TV and movie making.

Infinitely Polar Bear screens at the Vernon Towne Cinema Monday. Sept. 28 at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. All seats are $7, cash only. Tickets are available at the Bean Scene one week ahead as well as at the theatre. The film is rated PG for coarse language.