Film Review – Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks has a pretty impressive indie film pedigree. It was written by Zoe Kazan, who also stars as Ruby, directed by those two that brought us the amazing Little Miss Sunshine and also stars Paul Dano as Calvin Weir-Feilds who first came to the public attention in the aforementioned Little Miss Sunshine and is dating the aforementioned Zoe Kazan in real life. Ah those crazy indie kids are all about a bit of nepotism eh? Pointless trivia aside, here’s what I thought:

Ruby Sparks| 2012 | Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris | USA | 15 | 104 min

When Calvin was 19 he wrote what was hailed as a new American literary classic. unfortunately for Calvin, the subsequent crushing expectation placed on him has given him one serious case of writers block. Living with just his dog in an expansive apartment, Calvin fills his days procrastinating and visiting his therapist. Dr Rosenthal (Elliott Gould) assigns him the task of writing about someone who likes his dog and soon inspiration finally flows. Calvin creates Ruby Sparks, a beautiful, damaged, warm-hearted free spirit who practically writes herself. He finds himself falling in love with her, and when she shows up in his apartment for real he can’t decide whether to check into the local psych ward or thank his lucky stars. Yup, he has brought into existence his perfect woman.

The key premise is a really interesting one. It questions the innate selfishness of people, the nature of romantic relationships and gender politics. It puts me in mind of Alain de Botton’s Essays in Love, a self-obsessed lament about a failed relationship. The relationship between Ruby and Calvin is obviously the central one, but the secondary characters and their relationships to each other and to Calvin are extremely well written that they serve to further give subtle insights to the main focus of the film. Ruby Sparks is an intelligent, faceted and watchable sci-fi romance of the Eternal Sunshine ilk. I highly recommend it.

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