Ruby Sparks B
Five years ago, co-directors and co-writers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who are married) took the Sundance Film Fest and the indie world by storm with their auspicious debut, “Little Miss Sunshine,” a sharply observed comedy that went on to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, win Supporting Actor Award for Alan Arkin, and make a big splash at the box-office.
Now the same team, with some of the same actors (Paul Dano) are back with another winning feature, the romantic fable “Ruby Sparks,” which will also be released by the entrepreneurial Fox Searchlight.
World-premiering at the Los Angeles Film Fest, where it received a warm response, “Ruby Sparks,” which is not penned by the co-directors, adds a panel to a growing body of works about the creative process, writers’ block, the relationship between creator and creation, the fine line between fertile imagination and a reality that’s more complex and unanticipated in its workings.
The gifted Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood”) is well cast in the lead, as Calvin Weir-Fields, a literary wunderkind, who made a strong impression with his first, highly acclaimed novel. Was this a blessing or a curse?
Since then, he’s been stricken with a stubborn case of writer’s block, made worse by a dismal love life, which leaves much to be desired.
In a desperate effort to reignite his creative spark (and sex life), Calvin decides to envision a female protagonist in his mind, who he names Ruby Sparks (played by Zoe Kazan).
The ploy works magic, as almost from the minute he imagines her, Calvin feels creatively invigorated to endlessly think and write about her.
But then the creation assumes an independent life of her own, and one day, she shows up in his living room.
At first, Calvin thinks it’s a (bad) joke, then he considers it a sign of madness. But could be an act of magic? An incredible indication of his renewed genius?
Wasting no time, Ruby is sleeping in Calvin’s bed, cooking in his kitchen, beguiling him in every way she can. There is, however, one mind-boggling twist: Calvin possesses the power and means to change her every time he sits at his typewriter.
Offering a wry and inventive, and occasionally bright take on the relationship between a creator and his creation, “Ruby Sparks” is, of course, yet another take on the tale of “Pygmalion,” with a touch of “Harvey,” the hit play (now in revival on Broadway with Jim Parsons) and movie (starring Jimmy Stewart and a giant rabbit).
As Calvin tries to test and juggle this power, he faces a major dilemma as a writer and a lover: what will it take to make this relationship leap from his imagination work in the real world?
What makes the saga entertaining is its twists and turns in telling the story of a novelist’s vision who inexplicably comes to life, only to prove far more complex, complicated, ambivalent, and confusing than even he could have imagined
Leave a Reply
- Inside Llewyn Davis: Top Coens, Cannes Highlight
- Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of Plains Indian)
- Fast & Furious 6: Thrilling Joyride
- Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy–Talk of Cannes Film Fest
- Bling Ring, The
- Before Midnight: Hawke and Delpie at Mid-Age
- Stories We Tell
- Great Gatsby: Luhrmann’s Jazzy Spectacle
- Star Trek into Darkness: Solid Sequel
- Love Is All You Need: From Denmark Via Italy
- Kiss of the Damned: Oversexed Vampires