‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ Is Smart and Heartwarming

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"Infinitely Polar Bear" is the first feature film by writer-director Maya Forbes.

Credit: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

(WOMENSENEWS)– Heaps of praise for "Infinitely Polar Bear," opening . The charming first feature by writer-director Maya Forbes isn’t about creatures who live around ice caps. It’s about a human family that manages to avoid its own meltdown when a wife and mom (Zoe Saldana) takes leave of the nest for a while. Her departure means two young daughters are under left under the sole care of their well-meaning dad (Mark Ruffalo) who has bipolar disorder. (One of the girls refers to the condition as "polar bear," hence the title.) Dad continually makes embarrassing social errors, but everyone survives. Obvious thematic feminist concerns are here, to do with the push and pull between personal advancement and family commitments. The humor is sweetly humane and the film is beautifully brought to life by a superb cast.

More April 24 Openers

"The Age of Adaline," a femme-centric romantic drama and fantasy, is the story of a woman (Blake Lively) born at the dawn of the 20th century who had, at the age of 20-something, a freak accident that rendered her ageless. She’s been in her 20s since then, experiencing life through the decades and up to the present as an eternally young woman. She enjoys almost every aspect of perpetual youth, except the isolation it causes. But things change when she falls in love and risks losing her immortality to pursue her passion. Lively, in her first top billing, does a lovely job of bringing Adaline to life through the eras. And the fashion parade is absolutely spectacular.

In "Misery Loves Comedy," actor and standup comedian Kevin Pollak turns documentarian and interviews his well-known colleagues about the whys and wherefores of their decision to see the standup spotlight and pursue a career and lifestyle that is oddly addictive and often quite painful. Among the more than 50 American and Canadian humorists who appear in the film, fewer than 10 are women. The documentary makes no mention of gender disparity in the standup realm, but we would be remiss were we not to note the imbalance in the film. Still, the comments made by Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Schumer, Janeane Garofolo and the other women who appear are insightful, enlightening and entertaining, We just wish there were more of them.

Opening April 29

"Iris" is legendary documentary maker Albert Maysles tribute to New York fashion icon Iris Apfel, now in her 90s and still a leading style influencer. The documentary tracks Apfel’s career through the decades, and follows her as she now attends the hautest couture runway shows, bargains with street vendors for ready to wear and selects schmatas from discount store bins. She’s always clad in full regalia, a colorful, carefully chosen composite of designer classics and kitsch, fully accessorized with an overabundance of jewelry of all sorts and her signature owl-eye spectacles. Whether you’re a fashionista or not, "Iris" is a hoot. Her candid comments and words of wisdom will enlist you in the legions of fans, famous and not, who adore her. "Iris: is a must-see.

Stay tuned to see what’s coming in May.

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