Skip to main content

Movie Review: Ruby Sparks

What do the following have in common: Pygmalion and Galatea, Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, and now Calvin and Ruby Sparks?  Each pair includes a man who makes (or remakes) his ideal woman and a woman who refuses to be controlled.  These stories ask us to consider what, if anything, does love have to do with control?  Do we love someone as they are, or do we only love them when they do what we want?

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is a writer who wrote a good book once.  He doesn't seem to have any stories left.  His social life consists of taking his muttish dog on walks and occasionally doing author talks to audiences he feel no connection with.  One day, he has a dream about a girl named Ruby Sparks.  She is beautiful, unique, fun, and compassionate.  She loves him just the way he is.  His therapist suggests he write a story about Ruby.  Calvin begins to write Ruby's character, and then, oddly, she appears in his apartment.

Could there be a more perfect scenario?  Calvin has created this girl in his mind and suddenly she is real.  And when he writes about things Ruby says or does, Ruby does them.  Talk about your fantasy coming true.  His brother doesn't believe him until Calvin writes that Ruby speaks fluent French and she does, right in front of him.

Acting as the prophetic voice of the thought that will come to haunt him, the brother says, "For every man out there, please tell me you aren't going to let this go to waste."  Calvin solemnly promises, "I'll never write about her again."  And he doesn't . . . until Ruby starts to form a mind of her own.

She decides to take a class and finds her own friends.  Calvin gets out his typewriter and tries to manipulate Ruby's actions, not knowing what the consequences might be fully to doing this.  This creates an amusing series of events where things are taken to the extreme.  And it becomes frighteningly clear that Calvin is not so sure he is ready for Ruby.  What happened to his ideal woman?

This movie was impressively done.  The story was unique, although it had remnants of the stories above, it was done in a fresh way.  I couldn't predict what was going to happen next.  The shocking conclusion is much more climactic and sinister than I could have imagined.  And although it's a comedy, and it is genuinely funny, it is reflecting something very real about us as people.  Often we are looking for love to get something.  We want someone to soothe us, comfort us, make us feel better about ourselves.  And when that person isn't able to do that 100% of the time, we feel betrayed and let down.

The characters were well drawn.  Calvin is the perfect ruffled author type with mussy hair and a truly wounded spirit about him.  Ruby is probably what every guy wants: pretty, fun, generous, flirty, quirky, and affectionate.  Calvin's brother Harry is the antithesis of him.  Harry is smooth, polished, analytical, successful.  Then there are all the minor characters which are just fun and seem like real people:  Calvin's writer friends, his hippy Mom, and Antonio Banderas is delightful as Mort, his mother's live-in boyfriend.

The chemistry of the two lead actors is convincing.  Altogether, I would say this is a movie worth seeing.  It will generate discussion for sure. 


Popular posts from this blog

Border (2018): A Dark Swedish Fairy Tale

Have you ever felt like you are alone? Like you exist and move around in a community of people that you are nothing like?

Imagine how Tina feels. She works as a highly competent border guard for the sole reason that her sense of smell is extrasensory. She can smell fear, shame, and any negative emotion on people as they cross through her security area, and she is never wrong about her suspicions. Her work career, however, might be the only thing she has going for her.

She lives on the outskirts of town with a boyfriend that owns a pack of dogs, and from all counts, they live together in a loveless domestic arrangement that is hard to imagine either of them conceiving. Things become a little clearer later as we learn that Tina owns the home and the boyfriend is enjoying the luxury of living rent free. Tina appears to have no family except for the man she calls father, who claims to have adopted her.

Tina is unattractive by human standards and is most often seen staring attentively and …

Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014) and Lessons About Marriage

Gone Girl is a book-to-movie project that only took 2 years to complete, compared to most movie projects, which take an average of four years (Maze Runner, Twilight, and Hunger Games are all examples of this). Once I heard the movie was being released, I re-read the book in anticipation of the movie release. I have to say, the book was outstanding. I work at a library, and many people were checking out this book. Sometimes I am slow to pick up a hot book, just because I can be stubborn. The book took a genre like suspense, and took it to the new level. The book changes viewpoints and storytelling strategies so many times, and just as you think you have finally predicted the ending, it ends in a way that no one could possibly expect.

Only recently did I find a book that compares called The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, released two years after Gone Girl. Suffice it to say, I am not often enamored with adult fiction. Gone Girl is truly special.

I went into the movie with high hopes, but also r…

The Tradition of the Annual Debbie Macomber Christmas Book

My tradition of reading the annual Debbie Macomber Christmas romance novel started like any tradition does -- by my doing something one time, enjoying, and repeating the experience each year. Before you know it, the repeated action becomes a tradition, and you can't imagine life without it. I don't read any other Macomber novels, but I do read her Christmas books. I normally finish them on the 90 minute flight home.

If you aren't familiar with Macomber's line of Christmas books, let's just say they are similar to a Hallmark movie experience. There is always a smart, savvy female who is stubborn and a rugged curmudgeonly man, often the type that would reside in isolation, in Alaska, for instance. He is normally wealthy, and she normally has a career and feels torn by her feelings. The two fight their attraction but, by the end, they just can't help themselves and fall in love. 
I believe my first Debbie Macomber Christmas book was her 2003 The Snow Bride. Just …