Ruby Sparks (2012)
I’ve been waiting with excitement to catch Ruby Sparks (2012) the concept really excited me and wasn’t let down. I think after Adaptation (2002) I was more intrigued really, a rare chance to see the writer laid bare, not the usual pretentious writer stuff, something that goes inside the writers world. Ok I must admit I thought this was I thought he was a screenwriter but all the same this was another angle on the sub-genre.
A reclusive writer Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) living on the glory of his first novel, known by his fans as a genius who wrote a “masterpiece” that has created an aura and a cult following behind him, that has allowed him to live surprisingly comfortably off the royalties which doesn’t make sense, still this is a film and anything goes as we find out. He’s not been with a woman for some time, never mind been in a relationship and he’s brother Harry (Chris Messina) is worried about him, encouraging him to get out and meet people, even to write again, shaking loose that classic writers block he’s been stuck in. Even his psychiatrist Dr. Rosenthal (Elliott Gould) a stereotypical role for a confused young man to express himself to. It does allow us to understand the writer more, making him open up to the doctor and the audience.
Then the real magic begins for me as we get to go inside the writer’s mind, those brief dreams of his ideal woman take real form, that of Ruby (Zoe Kazan) who literally comes out of nowhere one morning, Its throws even the audience, its exciting and mad to say the least. Pair writer and actress Kazan opposite Dano really works, an actor really can’t do wrong in the films he’s been in, bringing something new to the character roles he’s allowing him to lead a film more recently. Both are definitely suited to the indie film world where they are able to play more interesting roles.
Kazan’s character Ruby is at the mercy of Calvin who is still trying to come to terms with his discover, a woman living in his house, in a relationship with him. A dream come true that is hard to believe even for him. Trying to make sense of his situation, should he accept this woman who is ultimately his creation. He does come to terms with this new woman in his life, understanding that its his writing, his typing has transformed ink to flesh and blood. A dream has leapt out of his mind into reality. Calvin begins to play god when the reality of being in a relationship with a woman starts to hit home, starting to control her, his words are her thoughts and actions. He is a puppeteer learning how to play with the puppet.
I think that’s enough metaphors, the idea being he knows he can control her before his actions are too little to really have a happy and meaningful relationship with what is ultimately a figment of his imagination that he is learning has its own limitations. He has to wake up to reality in order to be truly happy. As he slowly realise this, it starts to hit home, an unhappy relationship that is starting to crumble. It’s frightening the limits he goes to and all without special effects to make it all happen on-screen, it’s just acting pure and simple which makes this a more engaging film, making you think about how a relationship functions, that balance of both people being happy both together and apart. To understand you can’t have it all and let them be themselves.
Ultimately as for any creative this acts as inspiration for the writer whose block has gone, leaving only his conscience in the way. Potentially stopping an incredible story, a work of fiction being shared, and leading to an ending that is both perfect, filled with cliché and leaving you puzzled all in the same scene. You can’t help but consider how your potential creations could react if made real.
- Ruby Sparks (2012) (nothatwasacompliment.wordpress.com)
- Review: Ruby Sparks (2012) (savona93.blogspot.co.uk)