Ruby Sparks Review
October 14, 2012
Another indie film, another super high score. Ruby Sparks is proof that the Little Miss Sunshine team have still got it.
Any trailer that features Vampire Weekend, shows a Zooey Deschanel-esque character and has some literary promise is always a winner in my books. Ruby Sparks’ trailer encapsulated all of this, and then some. Climbing the ranks to one of my most anticipated films of the autumn, I was worried it would suffer the same fate as ParaNorman; a film I expected to adore but instead really liked. Thankfully Little Miss Sunshine directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton prove that the long awaited reunion with Paul Dano was worth the wait.
Young novelist Calvin (Paul Dano) is a genius. After achieving astonishing success, frequently compared to J. D. Salinger; he is struggling to reignite his dwindling writing career. Struck by writer’s block and loneliness, Calvin is inspired by his therapist Dr Rosenthal (Elliott Gould) to write about Ruby; the girl of his dreams. When Ruby (Zoe Kazan) appears in his house the next day, he is certain he’s gone insane. That is until he realises other people can see her too.
Ruby Sparks is simply a delight. It’s charming, sweet and, only occasionally; horrifying. Easily this year’s finest quirky indie film, it met every expectation I had lined up for it. Dano and Kazan are wonderful; their chemistry, unsurprising as they’re a couple in real life, is electrifying. Their love is genuinely sweet and never saccharine, which is often the case with many romantic comedies. Yet, this is no ordinary romantic comedy. Think more (500) Days of Summer or Stranger than Fiction (especially owing to the literary context) than a generic, unwatchable Jennifer Aniston/Jessica Alba catastrophe that infests cinemas every February.
Weird Science for a whole new generation; Kazan’s screenplay debut Ruby Sparks is adorable. A sincere, deep and scarily honest look at an idealised romance from Calvin’s point of view; their relationship, whilst often warm and whimsical, gradually crosses over into dark and controlling. It’s not often that such an aesthetically light-hearted film decides to pack a pretty hefty emotional punch at the climax, so hefty it almost reduced me to tears.
Ruby Sparks has easily made its way into my top films of 2012 list. I haven’t come out of the cinema with such an overwhelming, feel good experience since Moonrise Kingdom earlier this year. Although it’s not quite as perfect as an Anderson film. Calvin’s manipulative tendencies were very difficult to watch at times, but that doesn’t make the movie any less powerful. Thankfully, there’s an incredibly cute dog (identical to the lovely Sorry in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) to contrast with the exploitation.