Calvin is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing – as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby, in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.
‘Ruby Sparks’ comes to screens with a lot of talent behind it, husband and wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris deliver their first feature film following the acclaimed ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ released in 2006 and actress Zoe Kazan who stars in the film also takes on writing duties behind the camera and delivers a wonderful script.
‘Ruby Sparks’ is a quirky romantic comedy drama (with less emphasis on the comedy and more on the drama), and is also a detailed character driven story. The film starts out almost with a sense of magic and evolves into something more grounded, dramatic and to Zoe Kazan’s credit isn’t at all reluctant to become emotionally powerful, and dark in order to tell its tale.
The colour palette of the film really complements the tone effectively throughout with a range of bright colours, sunny landscapes, which changes with the contexts of events on the film and helps carry the mood of the characters.
A real discussion piece in many ways the film is very much a metaphor for relationships, and explores interesting and thought provoking concepts particularly along the lines of relationship control, an idea of a perfect partner isn’t necessarily the perfect partner, loving someone for what you want them to be and not what they necessarily are.
Using the fantastical element introduced early allows the film to flesh out these ideas in an interesting way, juxtaposing different relationships to articulate where such control given to one party of a relationship might take things and what the resulting consequences may be.
Populated with interesting and likeable characters ‘Ruby Sparks’ centres on an insecure and introverted writer, a loving brother seeking to keep him grounded and of course the object of his affection the delightful and quirky Ruby Sparks. Paul Dano, and Zoe Kazan who are also a couple off screen, have a good chemistry as an on screen couple, and both give great performances in their respective roles. The entire cast are strong and the film has a few casting surprises in there if you haven’t paid too much attention to the trailers.
While the quirky nature and minor comedic aspects add something to the film it is more dependent upon the drama to carry it through, and for the most part this works though it isn’t without some minor pacing issues that tend to cause things to drag just slightly through the second act.
Overall however ‘Ruby Sparks’ is packed full of interesting ideas, and a real conversation starter with good performances, good writing, and a willingness to take things to a darker tone to the benefit of the film.
I’m giving ‘Ruby Spark’s 7 out of 10 stars, it’s released in cinemas around Australia on Thursday 20th September 2012.