The autobiographical bent of Maya Forbes' directorial debut lends this roman à clef about her hardscrabble childhood in 1970s Boston a nostalgic earnestness, but also a lack of emotional objectivity. With Maggie (Zoe Saldana) and her daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky, Forbes' actual daughter) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) teetering on poverty, Maggie decides to enroll in Columbia Business School and leave her kids in the midweek care of Cam Stuart (Mark Ruffalo), their estranged, bipolar father. Cam, the scion of a miserly blue-blood, lives on a stipend and grapples with mental illness and alcoholism. Yet Forbes renders his problems as an eccentric, occasionally embarrassing inconvenience, treatable with love and a little Lithium. The only mention of the prejudices facing interracial couples and biracial children is a 30-second scene in which Amelia questions her racial identity. Still, Ruffalo gives another appealingly unbridled performance, and there's palpable chemistry between him and both child actors.
Director: Maya Forbes
Writer: Maya Forbes
Producer: Wally Wolodarsky, Benji Kohn, Bingo Gubelmann, Sam Bisbee and Galt Niederhoffer
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Keir Dullea, Wallace Wolodarsky, William Xifaras, Marshall Berenson, Mary O'Rourke, Georgia Lyman and Christopher S. Porter
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