NOW PLAYING IN HANOVER: Ruby Sparks
By The Dartmouth Arts Staff
Published on Monday, September 17, 2012
Best known as the directors of “Little Miss Sunshine” (2005), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris return to the quirky realm of indie movies with “Ruby Sparks.” The film centers on Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano), a writer who published his first book at 19 but has been unable to write anything since. Inspired by his therapist, Calvin writes a few pages about a woman named Ruby Sparks, with whom he slowly falls in love. To his surprise, the next morning, Ruby Sparks — played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script — appears in his kitchen in her underwear, and Calvin finds that he has done the unimaginable: He has created his ideal women out of thin air. Calvin discovers that anything he writes about Ruby comes true, and he must face the difficult choice of whether to let Ruby decide for herself what she wants. — Katie Sinclair
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris With: Dano, Kazan, Annette Bening 104 minutes Rated R
Reminiscent of the ancient Pygmalion myth, the film is witty, charming and thought-provoking. Quirky and fun, “Ruby Sparks” is far from another run-of-the-mill rom-com. The movie throws us all a curveball and possesses more emotional depth than I expected. The storyline is somewhat seductive and starts off sweet, but it delves into darker territory as the protagonist’s growing need for control drives his relationship out of control. The offbeat plot is highly refreshing. — Jackie Wei
Based on the description, I did not think I would like the film, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Calvin is as lovable as he is detestable — his self-obsession, disappointment, awkwardness and self-hatred make him not only a great subject for a modern love story, but also a man simply trying to find his own type of happiness, even if it doesn’t line up with what society defines as happiness. It is a difficult story to end because the circumstances are so bizarre, but I was pleased with its optimistic undertone. I also thoroughly enjoyed Alia Shawkat’s appearance in the film.
— Dana Venerable