RUBY SPARKS (15)
Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Cast: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, Elliott Gould
Release date: Out now
Art imitates life imitates art in this delightfully offbeat romantic comedy, which ponders if the man or woman of your dreams is exactly that: a fantastical creation.
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who collected a mantelpiece of awards for Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks stars real-life couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan as lovebirds magically brought together by unseen forces.
They catalyse smouldering screen chemistry, surrounded by a strong ensemble cast including Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening as hippie parents, whose carefree attitude to life and love provides a template of perfection that other characters struggle to emulate.
Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) wrote his first novel at the age of 19.
The book was embraced by critics as a modern masterpiece and he has coasted along on the adulation, unable to find the words for a follow-up, or a girl who loves him and not his celebrity.
During a regular visit to psychiatrist Dr Rosenthal (Elliott Gould), Calvin confides that a beautiful girl is haunting his dreams and the shrink suggests that it may be therapeutic to commit these nocturnal imaginings to paper.
So to cure his writer’s block, Calvin follows Dr Rosenthal’s guidance and churns out volumes about the mystery girl.
Miraculously, Ruby (Zoe Kazan) manifests in Calvin’s apartment.
She is blissfully unaware that she was once a figment of Calvin’s feverish imagination and as romantic bonds strengthen between the couple, Harry’s initial enthusiasm mellows into fraternal concern.
Written by lead actress Kazan, Ruby Sparks conjures fond memories of Stranger Than Fiction as Calvin ponders the morality of bedding his literary creation.
The script ventures into darker territory when Calvin grows weary of his soulmate and puts her through the wringer using his typewriter - but he sees the error of his ways.
Towards the end of the film, Ruby speaks for us all when she smiles at Calvin and coos, “Just don’t tell me how it ends, OK?”
OK, we won’t.
Our rating: 8/10
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