A MUST-SEE Movie:
Starring: Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
I may be one or two steps behind the hipsters on this one, but my must-see movie for this month is the offbeat and refreshing romantic comedy, Ruby Sparks. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris—the team that brought us Little Miss Sunshine—Ruby Sparks brings the same kind of sweet-toned and unconventional wit to its audience. The film tells the story of a young man, who, with his own mind, creates a human version of his perfect woman.
Calvin Weir-Fields, played by Paul Dano, is a young “boy genius,” suffering from writer’s block years after the success of his first highly acclaimed novel. Feeling washed-out and lonely, Calvin begins to dream about falling in love with his ideal woman—Zoe Kazan’s Ruby. After being given an assignment from his therapist, Calvin starts to write about Ruby, obsessing over her to the extent that she actually starts to become real. Ruby’s things start to accumulate throughout Calvin’s apartment, until one morning Calvin wakes up to find her in the flesh, making him breakfast. Thinking he’s gone mad, Calvin takes Ruby out—only to discover that he’s not the only person who can see her, and that she is, in fact, real.
From the moment they share their first kiss, Calvin falls deeply in love with Ruby. The film follows a winding storyline of love and the power-shifts that occur within relationships. With the ability to change Ruby to be whomever he wants her to be, and to do whatever he would like, Calvin begins to struggle with the power he has been given. After a visit with his parents, Ruby starts to change; she starts to become more independent and, in doing so, becomes more of her own person, rather than Calvin’s. Struggling with this fact and feeling as though he is losing control of Ruby, Calvin quickly writes on his type-writer: “Ruby is miserable without Calvin,” making her crawl right back to him. This leads Calvin and Ruby to engage in a dark dance of creator versus the created, which keeps the audience constantly guessing what’s going to happen next.
Zoe Kazan has done a brilliant job of creating the well developed, eccentric character of Ruby—and she absolutely kills it as the lead. Kazan’s ingenious heroine is reminiscent of Ellen Page’s witty character, Juno, from 2007’s Juno, and Zooey Deschanel’s harsh, new age independent character, Summer, from 2009’s 500 Days of Summer.
Though predominantly a quirky and sharp sort of rom-com, Ruby Sparks also contains some very dark, thought-provoking scenes that will leave you feeling somewhat uneasy. Above all, it’s a deep and honest film that will make you reflect upon your own life, and your relationships with the people you love.
Callie Mathieson, Online Entertainment Contributor
Images: Film International, Cloture Club