65 of 366: Ruby Sparks


I’ll admit a lot of the time I’m not entirely confident in what I put out there with my writing. Some films inspire me to write immediately after they’re over in such a way I don’t even need to think about it, while others prompt me to analyze the plot and meaning and ultimately over think everything.

Ruby Sparks is one of those films where the thoughts just came to me right away and I even spent a lot of time writing while it was on.

That’s fitting I suppose since the film is about a writer, Calvin (played by Paul Dano), who struggles to finish his next novel until a character he creates comes to life as he types words about her.

Ruby, played by Zoe Kazan,  who also wrote the screenplay, could be a true figment of Calvin’s imagination except other people can see her. Or perhaps she is just a coping mechanism for Calvin as he faces pressure to write his next great novel after early success with his first book.

It becomes apparent, building to the point where Calvin explains Ruby’s purpose in the end, that you don’t need to make sense of it all and how real her character is.

In that way Ruby Sparks is what a film should be, full of imagination, magic and mystery that could have any number of meanings.

“Falling in love is an act of magic, so is writing.” 

Kazan, with directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), bringing her script to life, plays with the ideas of make believe in her film as well as fate and creativity and perhaps the undertone of people’s expectations in a relationship.

Do people go so far when they are with someone to try to change them and make them into who they want them to be? Do people have unrealistic expectations in relationships at times and get in their head about them too much? Absolutely.

“I couldn’t see you when you were here and now that you’re gone, I see you everywhere.” 

Ruby Sparks is one of the more thought-provoking films I’ve seen lately, even though it’s billed as a romantic comedy. It just has so many possible meanings and ideas displayed through performances by Dano, Kazan and a supporting cast of Chris Messina, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas that effectively portray their complex characters.

Early on, as I said, there is a sense you need to figure it all out including why Calvin imagines Ruby in is life, but it’s best left to your own interpretation.

The result with that approach is simply a beautiful love story about writing, family, romance and creativity unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

“Any writer can attest in the luckiest, happiest state, the words are not coming from you, but through you.”





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