A couple of months ago, Disney+ launched a new channel on their streaming service named ‘Star’. Remember that? Well, I was absolutely buzzing about it and immediately put together a watchlist of Star movies as soon as the content list was revealed. Why am I telling you this? Ruby Sparks was on that list. Though it was by no means the top of my ‘NEED TO WATCH’ agenda, it seemed light and sparky and easy to watch. So I gave it a go.
Starring Paul Dano as Calvin, Ruby Sparks is about a struggling writer who achieved success early in his career but hasn’t done anything meaningful since. In a sudden jolt of inspiration, Calvin creates a character named Ruby Sparks and begins to write her story. However, it all goes fantasy/sci-fi crazy when the young writer suddenly finds Ruby on his couch, living and breathing in the flesh. Of course, he’s completely stunned when he realises that the character he’s written has turned into a real life person, but begins to question his own morals when he finds out he can write her to do anything he wants.
First, another one for the ‘Brilliant Posters’ list!
Though it won’t hit you as hard before you see the film, it’ll come at you like a ton of genius bricks afterwards. It’s just brilliant.
But anyway, the film itself…
I’ll begin with the cast because it’s… kind of great?! Though I’m not much of a Zoe Kazan fan (she’s basically just a younger, more relevant Zooey Deschanel), she’s completely suited to her role here and it’s really impressive writing from her. Did I forget to mention she also wrote the screenplay? Well now you know. And Paul Dano? Fantastic as always. Alia Shawkat, Steve Coogan, Antonio Banderas, Elliott Gould… I could go on.
The best of the supporting cast comes to the fore however with Hollywood legend Annette Bening. After seeing this, I’ve decided she should only play the spiritual hippy mother in every film she’s in from now on because she’s utterly brilliant here despite only having a grand total of around seven lines of dialogue.
In relation to the two main stars though, despite being impressed by their work here, I can’t say I connected with or related to any of the characters on a spiritual level, but I’ll admit that the pair have decent chemistry in that quirky, hipster millennial kind of way. In that respect, this is certainly a decent piece of entertainment with some real hard-hitting questions at its heart, but neither of the leads are exactly what you’d call ‘relatable’ to the average human 30 year old.
Filled with moral dilemmas and questions of humanity, the narrative itself is really quite unique and interesting for a rom com, it has to be said. Is she real or isn’t she? It’ll keep you guessing, that’s for sure. Will I remember it next week? Ehhhh probably not. However, it’s truly well written and brings up some pretty topical issues such as male fragility and controlling behaviour without being overly preachy.
Cute soundtrack, really great performances, decent filmmaking, excellent writing. It’s a good movie! (But I still won’t remember it next week.)
Ruby Sparks is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Rating: ½