Reviewed by Alyn Darnay
Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine)
Written by Zoe Kazan
Starring: Paul Dano (Cowboys & Aliens), Zoe Kazan(It’s Complicated), Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould
I’m going to ask you to use your imagination here for one minute. I want you to pretend you’re a writer, who by a very young age has already written the greatest book of your generation. You’re now 29 years old and you’re sitting by your typewriter (If you don’t know a typewriter is the writing tool everyone used before the computer-Google it!) and you realize you’ve nothing more to say. You said it all in your first and only book.
So you sit in front of the “Damn” thing and sit and sit and stare at it, day after day, week after week. Everyone is a fan and have been pressing you for the next book for years. But you just stare. Then one day, your shrink suggests you write about your problem as if from another person’s perspective. You think it’s a stupid idea, but then a dream you have of a beautiful woman stirs you into action. You sit down and start typing about her, very, very vividly, after all you’re a great writer and that’s what great writers do. Now here’s the tricky part…you write her so well that she comes to life right in front of you. What do you do next? How do you deal with it? How do you come to terms with it?
That is the premise of “Ruby Sparks”. An incisive, well-acted and often funny look at the messy complications of what would appear to be the most picture-perfect of relationships. You’re going to enjoy this one a lot, it’s a truly satisfying, offbeat romance, rife with great writing and wonderful performances.
Brought to the screen by the wonderful directing duo who gave us “Little Miss Sunshine”, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (a couple in real life), the film asks deep questions about man/woman relationships, and provides some very unsettling insights as it packs an emotional punch that you just don’t expect. The whole film just sneaks up on you and grabs you when you’re not looking.
The film was written by newcomer Zoe Kazan, and stars her and Paul Dano (also a couple in real life). Their on screen chemistry is palpable, a complete joy to watch. Ms. Kazan is one of those rare actresses that light up the screen, she’s one to watch in the coming years, and Paul Dano is the perfect foil for her joyous life energy. Watching the two of them together is truly a bit of magic.
Joining in the fun and delivering great cameo performances are Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas as Paul Dano’s mother and step father, and Elliott Gould as his shrink/adviser.
If you’re looking for a nice little indie film to spend the evening with, you can’t go wrong with “Ruby Sparks”. So let the Sparks Fly, and try to catch this one.