Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Zoe Kazan
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening
Romantic, Speculative Fantasy
Watched Via Amazon Streaming 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. (IMDB)
Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano (Photo credit: Nivrae)
Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing – as well as his romantic life.
Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.
While reasonably well written and acted, poor streaming made this movie about 20 minutes longer than it should have been. Obviously, this was not the movie's fault, but watching a film at home does bring on new considerations.
I had wanted to see RUBY SPARKS when it first came out, but it was not available here in Maine. So when I saw it in the line-up I was enthusiastic about watching it.
RUBY SPARKS is basically a retelling of Pygmallion, Dano's character is Calvin, a writer, who has a dream and starts writing about the woman in the dream.
He literally dreams the woman into existence. Having created the woman he vows never to write her actions again. But of course, when things between them are difficult it's easier to rewrite her. Or is it? He is a tremndously self-centered, unfun guy, and while initially her quirky, fun-loving and giving nature is as limited as what he has written. But she is human and wants to be more than his writing exercise. And he wants her to be everything he needs with none of her own.
The language used, aand the acting, in particular Ruby as played by Zoe Kazan, is good, although occasionally you feel as if Woody Allan might have been whispering over her shoulder.
Paul Dano is too good at playing the self-involved intellectual in the happy-go-hippy family; he's a neurotic sad sack. Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas are great as the loving mother and mother's second husband in Big Sur. That's where the hippy bit comes in.
In the end, it's only funny in the dialogue and actions but the story is tragic. And it goes on a little too long as they demonstrate the many ways the puppeteer can manipulate the puppet. In the end, it's about trying to force your lover to be who you want them to be instead of who you are. And, that's a tough lesson.