Ruby Sparks (R)
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The movie was inspired by "Pygmalion," with which I am only fleetingly familiar, though enough that I see the resemblance. However, it reminds me more of an episode of The Twilight Zone, "A World of His Own." (Though I'm sure the basic premise has been done countless times in books, plays, TV, movies, whatever.) Anyway, for much of the movie I was thinking I'd probably put my review under "quirky," but I always had "weird" in mind as a possibility, and by the end, I was thinking that would be more appropriate. "Paranormal" also would have fit, and I could see where some might file it under "romantic," but ultimately I would be uncomfortable with that. (I did watch the movie on Valentine's Day because I was expecting it to be sort of romantic, and it was, but... it's also sort of unromantic, I think.) Finally, I chose to call it an "art film," because it does have a kind of message about the nature of relationships, what they should and shouldn't be. I would say it's a good movie, well-written and acted, but the premise is kind of disturbing. The movie is complicated, and insightful, and sometimes delightful, and sometimes painful. And did I mention disturbing? And... I have deeply mixed feelings about how the movie ends.
It's about a writer named Calvin Weir-Fields, who wrote a hugely successful novel as a teenager, ten years ago. Since then he's written some short stories, but I don't think he's written a second novel. So, he's struggling artistically and emotionally (though he seems to be doing alright financially). Even though at this point I personally haven't published anything, I can relate to his frustration, and his loneliness. Anyway, he's seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Rosenthal. And he has a dog named Scotty. Dr. Rosenthal advises him to write a page about meeting someone who likes Scotty. And Calvin had previously had a dream about a woman (who we like). After getting this advice, he has another dream, in which he meets this woman, and she likes Scotty. So when he wakes up, he starts writing about her. And on another day, he wakes up, and finds the woman he'd dreamt and written about, Ruby Sparks, in his house. (She's played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the movie.) Ruby has no idea she's made up, and believes she and Calvin are in a relationship. Which totally freaks him out; he thinks he's losing his mind. But later, it turns out that other people can see and hear her, so... she's real. And he accepts that, quite happily, even though it makes no sense.
He doesn't want to tell Dr. Rosenthal about this. But he does tell his brother, Harry, who of course doesn't believe it. But Calvin proves it by introducing him to Ruby, then writing something about her (which Harry suggested), and it comes true. So, obviously, Calvin can make her do anything he wants, but at first, he doesn't want to. Harry doesn't want him to waste this ability, and in fact I often thought he was kind of a jerk, but... he's kind of not. I dunno, it's hard to really peg him, because he's human, and humans are complicated. As for Calvin, I think he had an impossible situation thrust upon him. I mean, how the hell do you deal with suddenly finding you have a kind of power no one has ever had, and no one ever should have? How do you deal with falling in love with someone you created, who is both real and not real? Well, he has good intentions. He spends some time letting Ruby just be herself, but eventually he gets worried that she might be thinking of leaving him, so he goes back to writing about her, to control her. And it doesn't work out so well. Because he writes rather simplistic things that, quite predictably, don't manifest in an ideal manner, in reality. So, of course, the whole situation gets even crazier.
But I won't tell you how it ends. Okay?