Calvin [Paul Dano] is a novelist in his middle twenties who wrote one novel, in high school, that was a national hit, and since then has failed to find the inspiration/reason/material to write. After dreaming of an idea, he starts to write about a girl, Ruby [Zoe Kazan], that he could love and one that could love him, only to wake up one day and find that his character has literally come to life.
Ruby Sparks is the first film that directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have done since 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine, one of my all-time personal favorites. This is new information to me, for I would assume after the national success of the film they would move onto a lot of bigger and better things, but the clearly wasn’t the case. They have come back to direct this film, which was written by Kazan, who also plays Ruby Sparks. Kazan comes from a long family list of writers, went to school to learn to write, and has been acting since 2003. Kazan has actually been dating co-star Paul Dano for several years, and the two live together and have a child. Just some fun info on the cast and crew, little tid-bits that I enjoy looking up before/after I watch a film.
The base of a story like this can be taken in infinitely many directions and levels of light and dark. “A man who creates a woman, and can change her person in any way he wants with the pressing of a few keys”. Much like 2006’s Cashback [a film I really enjoyed, available on Netflix Instant Watch], a man has control over a woman and can do whatever he wants. Fortunately, also like Cashback, the men in control are artistically and romantically motivated, and the films don’t take the dark, perverse path that it easily could.
Instead, Ruby Sparks takes a lighter, smarter path. Calvin thinks Ruby is perfect, having written her, but of course no person or relationship is ever “perfect”, and when things start getting a little rough, Calvin decides to try and fix it by writing her into feeling differently, and of course the result is literally what he is looking for. This only makes for more issues. As Calvin says, “I want to be what’s making her happy, without making her happy”. When he writes her back to normal, however, and things get rough again, Calvin lets the power get to his head.
I think there are a multitude of themes and morals one can find in this movie, and sometimes, when a film is capable, it allows you to find one of them yourself within it’s story and within your own.
3/4 – There are a multitude of themes and morals one can find in Ruby Sparks, and sometimes, when a film is capable, it allows you to find one of them yourself within its story and within your own.