Magical sparks fly
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.