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Ruby Sparks Review

By Lexi Feinberg

"Ruby" Sparkles


In the creative new film "Ruby Sparks", a once-important novelist starts writing about the fictional girl of his dreams - down to her being from Dayton, Ohio - and then finds her wandering around his home.  He's not dreaming or going batty or reacting to the wrong kind of mushrooms in his morning omelet. Nope, she is there, in the flesh, hanging around his neurotic dog, Scotty.

Calvin (Paul Dano) can't believe his eyes. Neither can his skeptical brother (Chris Messina). "This is insane! You manifested a woman with your mind!," he says after meeting her. Ruby, played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the screenplay, is everything that Calvin thinks he wants in a girlfriend. She is cute and playful and knows about literature and sings while cooking and paints and, most importantly, loves him to bits.

The problem is that she is his creation, which makes him quite the puppet master, and anything he types in the manuscript becomes her reality. Like when she starts speaking fluent French out of the blue. There is an obvious power dynamic issue going on when someone is calling all the shots and the other person has no idea about it. Not exactly the stuff of healthy relationships.

"Ruby Sparks" nails it for a number of reasons. Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who haven't made a movie since "Little Miss Sunshine", elicit excellent performances from their leads. It helps that Dano and Kazan are a real-life couple, so the chemistry is totally natural. The script is a strong combination of quirky and earnest, keeping it from becoming the tiresome gimmick it easily could have been. It also offers some wise insights about love. After all, the "perfect" person can never be defined by a checklist.

Those who enjoyed "Stranger Than Fiction" will find a nice companion piece here. It's a similar kind of flick, tackling writer's block, "what's going on?" occurrences and the quest for a real connection. The only flaw is the very, very end, which is a bit morally icky, but the rest is so engaging that it can be overlooked. Fall in love, warts and all, with "Ruby Sparks."

What did you think?

Movie title Ruby Sparks
Release year 2012
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary In this creative new film, a novelist starts writing about the fictional girl of his dreams, only to find her wandering around his home.
View all articles by Lexi Feinberg
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