DIRECTOR(S): JONATHAN DAYTON, VALERIE FARIS
STARRING: PAUL DANO, ZOE CAZAN, ANNETTE BENNING
Ruby Sparks is a film full of contradictions, as a piece it often gets lost in itself. Much of the problem I encountered when watching it stemmed from its own confusion, as an introverted film about an introverted writer its moral message often shifts, presenting a polarised presentation of a romance.
The films narrative is interesting and original, Ruby Sparks follows a down-trodden and self-sorry writer Calvin (Weir-Fields), who regularly visits a shrink and suffers from writer’s block. After being challenged by his therapist to embrace his dreams of a mysterious woman, he writes her as a character and literally wills his perfect woman into existence.
This is where the film’s messages become seemingly muddled. The relationship between Calvin and his creation explores man’s basic fantasy of a subservient woman and the subsequent male dominance, resulting from this wish being granted and this is never really morally judged or questioned.
The film has an interesting take on the romance genre, and the duality of Calvin’s character makes spending a whole two hours in his viewpoint both challenging and strangely gripping. One of the most intense scenes of the film is when Ruby discovers Calvin’s power over her, and breaks down as she is forced to speak in French, perform a strip tease and act like a growling dog. The film also asks a lot of its audience, Calvin asks his shrink to ‘just believe’ him and accept the miracle of Ruby’s existence and his power over her, his therapist replies ‘I’ll have to work on that’. I’ll have to work on that too.