Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ruby Sparks (Rhoades)

“Ruby Sparks”
Sparks Question
About Reality

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

One of my favorite sci-fi writers was Philip K. Dick, a strange man who was always questioning reality in his short stories. I’m going to have to add Zoe Kazan to that list of inside-out thinkers.
Zoe not only wrote the screenplay for a new movie called “Ruby Sparks” about a writer whose fictional character comes to life, she also co-stars with Paul Dano in the film.
“Ruby Sparks” is currently questioning what’s really real this week at the Tropic Cinema.
Here, a young writer named Calvin Weir-Fields (Dano) is wrestling with writer’s block. Having penned a successful novel at 19, he’s under pressure to prove he wasn’t a one-hit wonder. It’s been ten years. Even his shrink (Elliott Gould) isn’t helping.
So he writes a few pages about a made-up character he calls Ruby Sparks, the kind of woman he’d find attractive. Well, you can image his shock when he wakes up one morning to find the flesh-and-blood Ruby making breakfast for him in his kitchen.
What’s more, she’s not just a product of his fertile imagination – other people can see her too.
But somehow she’s still a product of his writing. He proves this to his brother (Chris Messina) by typing out that she can speak fluent French and – voilà! – she does.
This cute little romantic comedy is really about a more serious topic than what’s real and what’s not. It’s about relationships and the control we try to exert over other people.
Writer-actress Zoe Kazan has the perfect DNA for this breakout film. She’s director Elia Kazan’s granddaughter, and her parents are screenwriter/playwright Nicholas Kazan (Oscar-nominated for “Reversal Of Fortune”) and screenwriter Robin Swicord (Oscar-nominated for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).
As an actress, you’ve seen her in “Revolutionary Road” and “Meek’s Cutoff.” Now she makes her mark as a screenwriter.
Zoe Kazan explains Ruby. “I really wanted her to feel as real to the audience as she feels to Calvin. I don’t think Calvin is a sociopath. I think he’s a normal person. So I think it would be sociopathic for him to fall in love with her because he can control her. I think he falls in love with her because she feels real to him. She sort of arrives to him. Almost like he meets her. And she is a product of his imagination, there are things he devises for her to be, or to be like, but I think she’s mysterious to him.
“And that’s what I wanted the audience’s experience of her to be, and that seems like a challenge to me, to play somebody who is really specific and feels like a whole person, but is also obviously unfinished in some way, because he can continue to manipulate her.”
If you want to blur the lines between fiction and reality, turns out that co-star Paul Dano is Zoe’s real-life boyfriend.
I won’t give you any spoilers, but “Ruby Sparks” has a happy, uh, hopeful ending. But why wouldn’t it?
Zoe Kazan wrote it that way.

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