Ruby Sparks a quirky, bohemian, indie film from director team Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton displays a love of literature. Written by Zoe Kazan (who coincidentally plays title character Ruby Sparks) the movie follows Calvin (Paul Dano), a young writer who, at age 19 wrote a New York Times bestseller that is still widely acclaimed 10 years later. Faced with the expectations of another great literary work, Calvin is hit with writer’s block – until his therapist asks him to write a very bad story about someone liking Scotty – Calvin’s dog. Enter Ruby Sparks, Calvin’s dream girl. This short story is quickly expanded into a new novel, a romance – until Ruby walks off of the page and into Calvin’s life.
Ruby Sparks is first and foremost a love story, and a magical one. It is also a commentary on relationships and their ups and downs. It talks about family, insecurity, and life in general. Ruby Sparks is as bright, complex, and magnificent as its title character and driven by a wonderful supporting cast. Annette Benning is delightful as Calvin’s mother who has re-found herself after her first husband’s death, Antonio Banderas delights as the bohemian, furniture carving second husband, and Chris Messina contrasts nicely as Calvin’s golf-playing, businessman brother. (Though how Dano & Messina could come from the same two people makes no sense. The two look completely different!)
The challenge? Ruby is still under Calvin’s power. Can he resist the temptation to change the first thing he doesn’t like and – if not – can their relationship survive? Ruby Sparks, which opens today, is a treat well worth the admission fee.