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Ruby Sparks

A block of text with a blank space forming the outline of a woman. A man carrying a woman over his shoulder.Calvin (Paul Dano)  is a 29 year old washed up writer.  His one and only novel was written when he was in his teens, and he has struggled to find that voice inside him again.  One day Calvin begins to dream of a girl, Ruby.  He soon finds these visions of Ruby to be exactly what he needs as a muse and begins to write about her.  The more he writes about her though the more she begins to manifest herself in the real world.  Calvin writes Ruby in to his life and finds her standing in his apartment one day.  Ruby has come to life.

Calvin doesn’t know how to explain this to himself, or to his brother who doesn’t believe him.  He proves to his brother that he can control Ruby with the words he types.  He can change anything he wants about her.   He can make her speak French, or make her cook amazing meals.  He realizes that the girl he dreamed of is now the woman he loves.  He is so happy with her and vows to stop writing about Ruby.  He wants to just live life with her as a happy couple, but Ruby begins to have thoughts of her own.  She begins to react in ways that Calvin does not like.  Calvin finds himself forced to write about Ruby again.

Ruby Sparks plays like one of the better neurotic Woody Allen films in recent years.  It’s a completely absurd concept, and Calvin reminds me a little of when Woody Allen plays himself in films.  Calvin has a lot of problems.  He can’t fix those problems on his own, and no one seems to be of help.  His therapist, his brother, and especially Ruby can’t make life perfect.   He can control everything about Ruby, but that doesn’t seem to be the answer.  He doesn’t know what he wants.  He doesn’t know how to be in a relationship, or what that entails either.

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Feris prior film was the charming Little Miss Sunshine, which was one of my favorite films of 2006. They know how to balance the fine line between comedy and drama, and everything works here.  Fans of that film will surely enjoy this as well.  The film was also written by Ruby herself, Zoe Kazan.  A young and truly gifted writer.  Paul Dano is also great as always and showing that he has tremendous depth as an actor here.

There’s a lot of humor and fun in the film, but it’s also a cautionary and sad tale about love and control, much like another film I admire Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Be careful what you wish for, or want in life.

Grade: A-