MOVIE REVIEW: Ruby Sparks

There is a play, a comedy, I take it, called “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” which I have never seen. The movie Ruby Sparks reminded me of that sentiment, except the last part might be “Stay the Same.” I’ve been thinking about this film since I took a vacation day so The Wife and I saw it on a Monday matinee at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, with only six other people in the room.

Ever see or read something and all you can think about is only peripherally from the work? I’ve been thinking about God and free will; Lisa wrote something about that recently.

Or maybe it DOES have to do with the movie. The young writer, Calvin (Paul Dano) has enormous commercial and critical success early on. He’s like that hot indie band having a difficult time putting out its sophomore effort. Then he dreams this pleasant, though mundane story about meeting a girl named Ruby, from Dayton, Ohio. Since he’s been having writer’s block, his therapist (Elliot Gould) recommends that he write a story about his dream girl, even if it’s lousy writing. And after he types it out – on a typewriter! – Ruby (Zoe Kazan) appears! His brother Harry (Chris Messina) is the only one who knows the secret.

So obviously, she’s perfect. But as she becomes integrated into his life, she has her own needs. But he is the author of her. Can he change her? Should he? And what would be the consequences? Anyone who has ever been in a relationship, past that first glow, recognizes how tricky the day-to-day stuff can be. “If she would only…” “It makes me crazy when she…” And if you “fixed” it, would it REALLY make it all better?

Zoe Kazan, who wrote the script, is the granddaughter of Elia Kazan, and if you don’t know who he was, look it up. It appears that she, the REAL creator, is having a lot of fun on screen with this role. Paul Dano, with whom she lives, is convincing as a guy who has stopped trusting his skills. Some other nice turns by the cast, listed here.

In all this ramble, the film made me think, a lot, about control and fairness and reality, and that’s more than enough to recommend it.

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One thought on “MOVIE REVIEW: Ruby Sparks

  1. I’m not sure that I entirely follow Lisa’s argument on freewill and certainly not the sprouts/M+Ms analogy. Life tends to be made up of lots of choices and a succession of ‘good’ ones can lead to a large ‘bad’ one and vice versa. You can’t unmake decisions – about the best you can do is to backtrack and try again.

    All of which has little to do with Ruby Sparks which sounds interesting!

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