Review: Ruby Sparks (2012)

“Falling in love is an act of magic.”

Calvin (Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing – as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.

Ruby Sparks is well worth the six-year wait since directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ last feature film, 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine.

A smart and witty screenplay by star Zoe Kazan deftly dissects contemporary relationships and the dangers of idolising people, whilst staying light and funny. Dayton and Faris’ wisely rely heavily on their cast, and rewarded by two central performances by Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano which given the room to breath, gently progress and are built upon throughout the film.

The supporting cast is above standard with strong performances from Annette Benning and Elliott Gould, plus a cracking dog impersonation by Antonio Banderas.  Ruby Sparks has a touch of Billy Wilder about it (a compliment that should never be bounded around lightly); it does not patronise its audience or follow a conventional structure, its smart but still funny.

Please Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris do not wait another six years to release a feature film.

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