“Ruby Sparks” is a charming romantic comedy from the directors of the Oscar-winning “Little Miss Sunshine”. Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood”) stars as Calvin. When he was 19, Calvin wrote a best-selling novel that was so good and successful that people started calling him a genius. And they still do, even though Calvin hates that word, and hasn’t written a new book in ten years. He lives alone, has no friends except his dog Scotty and has a therapist.
One night Calvin has a dream about a girl and then begins to write about her. He names her Ruby Sparks. After writing about Ruby for a few days, Calvin wakes up and discovers Ruby in his house. She talks to him as if the two are a couple. Obviously Calvin is shocked, thinking he’s lost his mind, but when he finds out that other people can see Ruby (wonderfuly played by Zoe Kazan) as well, he realizes that something incredible is going on. They immediately fall for each other and begin a strange and unpredictable journey.
“Ruby Sparks” has a unique premise and an equally engaging story. Kazan also wrote the screenplay, which is filled with smart, believable dialogue from beginning to end, making this unbeliveable story very real.
The supporting cast includes Annette Benning as Calvin’s mother and Antonio Banderas as her lover. Chris Messina (“Julie & Julia”) plays Calvin’s brother, who has some good one-liners about the situation, and Steve Coogan plays Calvin’s agent. But this is Dano and Kazan’s movie. They are perfect together, both in the film’s lighter, comedy moments and the dramatic scenes.
Technically, the editing and transitions from scene to scene are flawless. And the score is lively, enhancing the tone of the film. “Ruby Sparks” becomes more of a drama in the third act. There are a few times when I thought the movie was ending, but it didn’t and I wondered why. However, when it came, the final scene blew me away. It’s hard to end a movie, especially one with such an offbeat concept, but “Ruby Sparks” does it right with an emotional, powerful and memorable conclusion.
“Ruby Sparks” is rated R for some adult language and content. It’s appropriate for teens and up. This is absolutely one of the best films of the year, and it’s great that more peopler will now get to enjoy it, since it only got a limited release in theaters in August. Even if the plot doesn’t intrigue you from the trailers (but it should), give it a chance. You’ll be delighted.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Ruby Sparks” gets an A.