Mag­i­cal sparks fly

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage and State Cine­mas Kiss and tell: P6

WHETHER we care to ad­mit it or not, most movies are all about wish ful­fill­ment.

Par­tic­u­larly those many, many movies that tell us a love story. At some point in our lives, we’ve all wished we could find true love against all odds.

The new Amer­i­can movie Ruby Sparks tells us a love story, and is most def­i­nitely in the busi­ness of wish ful­fill­ment.

It is the tale of a man who finds true love com­pletely of his own de­sign. There are no odds to over­come. He has dreamt up his dream woman and now she stands right there be­fore him.

Imag­ine that: the abil­ity to sculpt and script your per­fect part­ner, right down to the last de­tail. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

Calvin ( Paul Dano) is a young nov­el­ist with a big rep­u­ta­tion, and an even big­ger case of writer’s block. The trap­pings of suc­cess have trapped his tal­ent in a box, and now he can’t re- open it.

A psy­chi­a­trist gives Calvin a sim­ple as­sign­ment as ther­apy. All he has to do is write about his dog.

The ex­er­cise is some­thing of a suc­cess. Calvin’s type­writer – yes, he uses a type­writer – is mak­ing some se­ri­ous noise.

A few days later, the piece is com­pleted. Un­be­liev­ably, a mi­nor char­ac­ter in the short story has come to life and is now re­sid­ing in Calvin’s apart­ment.

Her name is Ruby ( Zoe Kazan). She is the epit­ome of ev­ery­thing Calvin has ever wanted in a woman.

Ruby is a free spirit. A pain­ter. Pretty. Funky dress sense. Great cook. Funny. Sen­si­tive. And RUBY SPARKS ★ ★ ★ ★ ■ Jonathan Day­ton ( ) Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, An­nette Ben­ing, An­to­nio Ban­deras com­pletely and ut­terly in love with Calvin.

Again, I ask you: what could pos­si­bly go wrong?

The key to en­gag­ing with Ruby Sparks, and it is an en­gag­ing film, is to go with its rather odd flow and see where it takes you. Don’t get too hung up on how Calvin was able to type up a liv­ing, breath­ing hu­man be­ing. The magic un­der­pin­ning this un­prece­dented turn of events is all but ig­nored.

In­stead, the film builds steadily into a rather clever com­men­tary on the ef­fi­cien­cies and balances taken for granted in mod­ern re­la­tion­ships.

Be­lieve in what Ruby Sparks has to say as op­posed to how it goes about say­ing it and most of your wishes for a re­ward­ing and re­veal­ing take on love in the 21st cen­tury will have been ful­filled.

The film owes much of its suc­cess to the in­tri­cate and in­ti­mate chem­istry of leads Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. Though ev­i­dently a cou­ple in real life ( Kazan also wrote the bravely un­ortho­dox screen­play) they cer­tainly do not coast through the mo­tions dur­ing what is of­ten a fraught and de­cep­tively tense af­fair.

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