Ruby Sparks Review

How often does the woman of your dreams come along?

Once, if you’re lucky.

Which makes Paul Dano’s character of Calvin in Ruby Sparks a very lucky guy indeed.

Calvin’s a writer who used to be thought of as a genius, much as he hates that term now.

Having written his debut novel to universal acclaim as a teenager, Calvin’s now experiencing severe writer’s block as the blank page in his typewriter practically taunts him.

Wracked with self-doubt, Calvin’s shrink tells him to write a page about his favourite teddy bear Scottie, and how someone could love Scottie just the way he is.

Scottie is in no way Calvin.

As sceptical as can be, Calvin goes home to write this but still can’t quite get it going; until he remembers these dreams he’s been having about a girl he’s never met.

So Calvin starts writing about his dream woman instead, his Ruby Sparks, and finally has breaks through his writers block.

Elated by his new found writing spurt, Calvin brushes off the random items of women’s clothing lying around his apartment.

And those girly items in his bathroom cabinet.

Blaming these on his dog, Calvin instead focuses on writing about his Ruby Sparks, until one morning he wakes to find her cooking eggs for him in his kitchen.

With his breakthrough having swiftly changed to a breakdown, Calvin tries to convince himself he’s not going crazy.

And the crazy thing is, he’s not; other people can see Ruby too.

But when the woman of Calvin’s dreams quite literally steps off the page and into his life, will she turn out the way he imagined her to be?

Ruby Sparks is a fascinating idea for a film, and that idea of creating our dream person to be with is surely something that’s crossed most people’s minds before.

I know I sure have and it certainly would seem to make life a hell of a lot easier.

But then who really wants an easy life anyway?

As the story unfolds, and the character of Ruby becomes ever more manipulated by her increasingly dictatorial marionette master Calvin, I was surprised to discover this was actually written by the actress who plays ruby Zoe Kazan.

Surprised, because her protagonist is male and Ruby comes across as such a male fantasy figure; although some of Calvin’s atypical leading man flaws made a lot more sense afterwards.
As did the lack of any in Ruby.

Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris, the real life husband and wife who transferred their marital magic into co-directing indie hit Little Miss Sunshine, have crafted a film that’s hard to tie down here.

Fusing many different genres together in its two hour running time, Ruby Sparks often takes you in surprising directions; starting off as indie comedy, the tone becomes progressively darker the longer it spirals towards its inevitable climax.

And another real life couple take up the major roles here too, with Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan playing Calvin and Ruby respectively.

I won’t say too much about the story, as it would spoil some of the surprises that lie in store, but I found the most fascinating thing about Ruby Sparks to be the ideas it provokes after you’ve watched it.

One thing I do know is this; if the woman of your dreams comes along, don’t fuck it up.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

October 2012