20th Century Fox
October 30, 2012*
105 minutes; rated R for some language and some drug use
with Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Benning
info on IMDb/buy Blu-ray or DVD/Amazon Instant Video
A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.While Ruby Sparks isn't a movie based on a book, per se, (which I do try to review/post about a lot on this blog) it almost is. Main character Calvin (Paul Dano) is a novelist who, at not even thirty is worrying about being washed-up. His first novel, published when he was just a teen, was a huge success and is seen as a future classic. Problem is now, years later, he's yet to produce his next great novel - or even not-so-great novel.
Then he starts writing about Ruby (Zoe Kazan - also the writer and a producer) and can't seem to stop. He thinks he may finally be curing his writer's block - only to come up with a new, bigger problem when Ruby appears in his apartment.
Is Ruby somehow real? Or is Calvin going insane?
Ruby Sparks is kind of fantastic. Calvin creates this character who becomes more and more real to him, the more of her personality, history, etc he creates. He's creating someone that would be the perfect, ideal woman for him, lamenting the fact that she'll only ever be on paper. And then she's not.
Ruby's appearance, Calvin and other character's immediate reaction to her appearance definitely leads to some humor. It's also great that we, as viewers, already know Ruby through Calvin's imagination and writing of her. While she's a new character in the flesh, she's not really a new character.
I also loved that this was not completely a light-hearted movie. There was some seriousness and even a bit of darkness around Calvin and Ruby and their relationship when it possibly began to lose that everything-is-perfect, honeymoon stage. It was always known to Calvin - and viewers - that Calvin, ultimately, had control over Ruby and that kept things from really being light and easy. I appreciated that was not forgotten.
Ruby Sparks was a movie I have been anticipating for quite a while and I am thrilled that it lived up to the expectations I had for it. It's a brilliant concept (kudos to Zoe Kazan for her screenplay and great acting job) that was executed very well, too. I hope you'll see it.
Side note: The previews on this one were really great, too: 'The Sessions' is one I've seen short, short things for and not really paid attention to but now it's on my list. 'Lola Verus' was one that I didn't, actually, think I was interested in based on reading the IMDb and wherever else summary but I think I'll check it out now.
*Amazon Instant Video rental available now, purchases in all formats available Tuesday
thanks to Think Jam & Fox for my screener of this