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Sunday 9 December 2012, by
In Ruby Sparks, Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is a lonely novelist who hasn’t written a book in ten years, since he was 19. In a Stranger Than Fiction-like fiasco, the words he begins to write start to materialise into real life happenings. In a Weird Science-like fiasco, those words result in Calvin conjuring the woman of his dreams, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), as he’s named her. The two go on to embark on a relationship fit for a... well, film. Until things start to go awry and Calvin must make things right (in his mind) by controlling Ruby’s behaviour with his magic typewriter.
There’s a lot going on here. Forget the post-modern literary devices of the story within a story metafiction type stuff for a moment. The underlying idea of the film itself is what makes it so interesting. That idea being that even your dream girl (or boy) would end up being quite the hassle - because everyone’s a hassle when you peel off the layers of their personalities. The imperfections of Ruby’s admittedly quirky-but-cute character, despite the fact that she’s a dreamt-up being, make her a realer person than most of the female leads in today’s romcoms. (Though it would have been even more meta to cast Katherine Heigl for all her cutesy depictions of flawed-but-perfect women.)
The film leaves us, the audience, with a sense that the expectations that come along with romantic ideals constantly forced on us by popular culture are just that - ideals. If you’re looking for a romcom for cynics, Ruby Sparks might just be your perfect film.
Dir: Ruby Sparks, 2012