Directed By: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Starring: Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Elliott Gould
Screenplay: Zoe Kazan
UK Release Date: 12th October -UK
Husband and wife duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are well known as the creators of one of 2006’s best indie films, Little Miss Sunshine, as well as some very famous adverts and music videos. Now, they join forces with one of America’s growing female film writers and actresses Zoe Kazan (yes, the granddaughter of Elia Kazan-wow!), Ruby Sparks is another comedy drama, however with romance, making for a superb second feature.
Reuniting Dayton and Faris with Paul Dano has him as our protagonist, a very clever and successful author named Calvin, who is currently suffering the painful virus of writer’s block. After finding inspiration in a dream, Calvin begins to write about a girl named Ruby Sparks and, not long after, she becomes real.
The idea of the film is fairly original, as well as simple, and Ruby Sparks completely charms in a breathtaking, romantic, comedic way. Although it is completely imaginative and has its own specific feel, there are hints of a ‘500 Days of Summer’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind’ atmosphere in the way that it’s an offbeat rom-com with quirks and untypical paths. Nevertheless, Ruby Sparks is more refreshing, as this offbeat atmosphere is more inviting that overpowering.
Giving a very memorable performance in Little Miss Sunshine, Dano impresses further with Calvin Weir-Fields. Calvin is a very adoring, empathic character for audiences to relate to and Dano has that little bit of himself in Calvin to make him ever so real. Opposite him is the beautiful Zoe Kazan, who shines as Ruby Sparks. Whether she wrote the part knowing her sweet, bubbly character was to be cast or not, it literally is as if the part was wrote for her. Ruby is not only real for Calvin, but real for audiences because the love story of the pair is touching to watch and the whole way through we are captivated by her.
Ruby is absolutely everything a regular guy would dream of her to be, which is when Calvin begins to take advantage of his unexplained gift. Although, not in any type of vulgar way, rather trying to get her to fit around his mood and his plans. These scenes could be seen as the most poignant, because of Calvin’s melancholy life and strive to have someone shadowing his every move. Keeping to a traditional romantic film, the heart-warming montages stick out as some of the most beloved scenes, mimicking classic rom-coms from a few decades.
Kazan’s script is so lovely; it’s entirely believable on some levels. For fiction, it’s somehow plausible because everything that occurs during Calvin’s life is how we’d all react if this type of magic hit us. It’s a magical love story, in the most regular, convincing way. There is a complete contrast of feelings throughout Ruby Sparks, where there are moments to feel sad and moments to laugh. Although Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening have very few scenes, they’re input creates a lot of comedy to help keep Ruby Sparks on the ground.
Despite the rushed ending, Ruby Sparks still captures the essence of both the good and bad sides of being in love even if the person you have fallen in love with, is someone you have created in your mind.
Zoe Kazan is an absolute delight and being opposite her real life boyfriend makes the love story within Ruby Sparks seem even more real, exciting and moving in another touching drama by Dayton and Faris.