Ruby Sparks


STARRING: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening

Significant other: Kazan and Dano

Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) is in strife. He’s a once best-selling, still revered novelist who is now blocked and terribly alone. Small wonder he dreams up his ideal girl, Ruby Tiffany Sparks (Kazan, who wrote the curious screenplay, which MTV team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directs). She is a smiley, 26-year-old artist from Dayton, Ohio. She can’t drive, has no computer, champions the underdog and doesn’t have a terrific history with men. Of course she doesn’t! On paper, Ruby makes a great love object — so great that one morning, hey presto, she becomes real.


Obviously, this is completely far-fetched. So here’s what Ruby Sparks has going for it. Dano and Kazan are the kind of real-life couple you instantly add to your ideal dinner-party guest list. The supporting cast keeps the surreal real. And although Calvin invented Ruby, she evolves into her own, contrary woman.


That’s when Calvin clamps down on her control, thereby heightening the pertinent question of relationship power balance that underpins Kazan’s tantalising parallel universe of the mind. But just when you’re thinking she’s swung into deep water, the squalls balance out with an abiding belief in love, however you may find it.