How many times have you thought that if only you could change one or two things about the love of your life, everything would be perfect? Ruby Sparks (RS) takes that thought and runs with it, sprinkling a little magic and dark humor on top. This introspective and genre-breaking rom-com will have you hooked from the very start.
Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing – as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person. Naturally, Calvin assumes that he has finally lost his mind. How can a girl become real simply by typing about her on his Olympic De Luxe typewriter? It isn’t until she follows him out in public that he realizes other people can see Ruby – she’s real, and he’s not crazy. With a little encouragement from his overbearing older brother, Calvin tries changing Ruby when he see’s she’s not quite as happy as she was in the beginning. This leads us through a creative, thoughtful, and emotional roller coaster that will have you both laughing and beside yourself with shock and horror.
What is really occurring throughout Ruby Sparks is a phenomenal balancing act. Not only is it a love story, it is a story about a man who can’t bring himself out of his own angst and self pity. It is also a story of a man and his muse, which morphs into a story about a muse and her man. No one single aspect overpowers another. Even though the beginning is a little slow to get started, the character development is so craftily low-key but believable that you are instantly drawn under its unbreakable spell.
Dano plays Calvin to a tee. I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited for the job. His expertise on odd-ball characters makes him the perfect choice. Zoe Kazan is fairly new to the average moviegoer, but I certainly hope we will be seeing much more of her. Her portrayal of Ruby is fantastic, reaching the highs and lows with perfection. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering she wrote the screenplay. That’s right, she wrote and starred in this little gem of a film. I truly applaud her for what she has created. While the idea was inspired by the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea and has been done before, the way it was presented was a thing of beauty. Dano and Kazan have fantastic chemistry, creating an incredibly believable atmosphere. Here again, this shouldn’t be a surprise, since the two are a couple in real life.
Ruby Sparks breaks the romantic-comedy mold, asking us to think about our own relationships and inner most thoughts. It forces us to examine an unbelievable situation from a completely believable perspective. If you are looking to see an inspiring, creative, and incredibly entertaining movie this summer, you will be hard pressed to find something better than Ruby Sparks.
I give Ruby Sparks 5 “Magic Typewriters” out of 5.
by Rachael Edwards-Hite