Ruby Sparks is about a writer Calvin Weir-Fields (played by Paul Dano) who as a 19 year old wrote a seminal book. Ten years on and he’s done little else (we can all relate, right?). Filled with neurosis he is given a task to write something, anything, even if it’s bad, by his psychologist He writes about a dream girl or rather, a girl he is having dreams about, then a few days later, there she is in his home. Not imagined, no figment of a mental break down. A living, breathing person made flesh by his words. This is Ruby Sparks (played by Zoe Kazan). Who, he discovers after a little experiment, he can change and control simply by adding to his story.
As unique and interesting as that may sound, it’s the perspective you bring to watching the film that really intrigues. Written, as it is, by Zoe Kazan. Do you watch this thinking she is writing as a woman or, is she writing as a woman thinking as a man. Maybe in-between? I heard a great quote once that sadly I can’t find to credit the woman who said it with: “Every woman wants to find the perfect man… and change him.” Lets be honest, no matter how much you love someone, there is always something, an annoying habit, maybe even the way they pronounce a certain word, that you wish you could change sometimes. So it’s a great surprise to hear Calin proclaim he won’t change Ruby when questioned by his brother (Harry, played by Chris Messina).
Another interesting fact is that, according to IMDB, the two leads are actually a couple. The chemistry between them certainly comes across as natural and awkward when required. The acting over all is good. Paul Dano always looks a bit uncomfortable in his own skin and brings that to the fore. Special mention should go to Antonio Banderas as Calvin’s step-father (Mort), with Annette Bening as his mother (Gertrude). These two characters show another aspect to relationships. One person changing to be more like the other or, looking on the positive side, they become the person they always were. No matter how much their children may dislike it. Surely a much more common occurrence with the high incidences of divorce. Mort comes across as lovable but understandably annoying to Calvin.
Tarred somewhat by the comedy romance brush this certainly isn’t your usual fare in the genre. It won’t having you splitting your sides or weeping into a tissue but it should raise a smile or two and at the end, maybe even a slight warming of your heart.
4/5 (Ruby, Ruby, Ruby)