I know, I know before tonight I’d never heard of this film either, but legally or illegally I think everyone should watch this movie.
Ruby Sparks is focused around novelist Calvin (Paul Dano). Calvin received praise for writing a book 10 years ago that is considered to be a modern classic, similar to J.K Rowling’s praise. Now aged 29, Calvin is still struggling to cope with his fame, severe writing block and an extremely limited social life. Calvin finally finds inspiration and begins to write about his dream girl, Ruby Sparks, until he wakes up one morning to find her a real person. On paper it sounds like a whimsical nickelodeon film starring Selena Gomez. On screen it was a surprisingly good film.
Ruby Sparks made me think, what would it really be like to be in complete control of someone, and makes the audience question how perfect perfection really is. Our protagonist tries to create his perfect spouse, to create the perfect relationship and when it doesn’t quite go his way he tries to control it. I think the writer wanted the audience to think about how we can’t control everything in our lives, about how we can’t have these perfect relationships in our lives. The writer is commenting on how many people in society today want to have a perfect relationship a “tumblr relationship” and how it is impossible to have. How it doesn’t exist.
The actual film itself was also really good. The acting was good enough to believe, and although wasn’t top-notch it was a solid 8 out of 10 (Paul Dano’s “awkward” face is just brilliant). My favourite scene was probably the confrontation scene towards the where all the tension in the film is let off. It is performed brilliantly by both Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano. Antonio Bandaras also makes a fun and surprising appearance in this film and actually kept me entertained, unlike he usually does in his other films.
Now, although I did love this film I had a fair few gripes with it. First off, I know I said the acting was good enough to believe, some of Paul Dano’s movements were too rigid, not natural enough. Also every time he cried (which was every five minutes) he didn’t seem to cry properly, he didn’t even weep, he just pulled a face. At times his character was being stubborn and annoying and I couldn’t understand some of the decisions he made.
Another problem I had, was a very similar problem I have with a number of films. When the writer came up with the idea of Calvin being about to write anything about Ruby and it became true, a million ideas flashed into my head. Why doesn’t he write something to solve all his problems? Why doesn’t he write “Ruby understands how I want her to be” or “Ruby is a mind-reader and so we rarely fight? The child in me was shouting for Calvin to write: “Ruby has superpowers that she passes on to me”. The point is, there becomes a problem when a protagonist has unlimited power over someone or something.
It also had an ending that was open to interpretation, which is something I enjoy.
All in all this is a good watch. With not too much riding on this film, I fear that it may not have had much success at the box office. I didn’t even know this film existed until I walked into the cinema to buy my ticket. I rate Ruby Sparks 8.5 out of 10 for it’s generally good acting, clever message and open-ended ending.