Box art for Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks

comedy


A young novelist struggling with writer's block finds a love interest in a most unusual way.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    79%
  • Audience Score
    75%

common sense

ON for kids age 16
Consumerism
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
1 out of 5

Indie romcom explores ego and love; language, sex talk.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that indie romance Ruby Sparks is layered and hard to classify, despite its romcom positioning. It has moments of whimsy but also intense scenes that may be too heavy for younger teens and tweens. There's no nudity beyond some bare shoulders, but expect some swearing (including "f--k"), references to sex (including oral sex), and social drinking, as well as complex explorations into the nature of relationships.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Calvin's "creation." What would it be like to be able to control the actions of a loved one? Would you want to?
  • What is Ruby Sparks saying about the nature of creativity and art? What about relationships?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    79%
    reviews counted: 0
    see all Ruby Sparks reviews
  • Audience

    75%

Audience Reviews

4 stars

After 6 years, husband-and-wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris deliver their long-awaited follow-up to the brilliant "Little Miss Sunshine". It would seem that the director's were in no rush to emulate their previous, Oscar winning, success; preferring instead to wait for the right script. It would also seem that that time has now come and it's, certainly, been worth the wait. Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is struggling writer who once wrote a 'genius' novel when he was 19 years old. The trouble is, he's now struggling for material and suffers from writer's-block. On the advice of his therapist (Elliott Gould), he begins to write about a girl that has been appearing in his dreams: Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). The next day, Ruby becomes a real person and they both strike up a beautiful and loving relationship. What Calvin then realises is, that if he can will her into existence by writing about her, then he can change her at any time and make her do what he wants by writing more. Not many films built around romance have had the audacity to explore the very nature of love itself and the stipulations that seemingly come with it. It's a genre I'm not fond of but that's only because most are catered for the masses. This film dares to explore the complexities of a relationship and the stipulations that both sides make. It questions whether we can really love a person, wholeheartedly, without their indiscretions ever becoming irritating or intolerable. It also addresses the nature of dominance within a relationship and how that, in itself, is destructive. Therein lies the beauty and honesty of this film; it's not afraid to pose these questions and it's also not afraid to explore the darker elements to it's premise or get it's hands dirty when it needs to. After a gentler, more romantic-comedy beginning, filled with wonderful touches of light and observational humour, the denouement takes a brave, impressive and twisted dramatic turn, that shows the darker side to the fantasy. Wisely, the film's fantasy premise is never explained. This may irk some viewers but really, the film wouldn't have gained anything by trying to break it down. Quite frankly, it just wouldn't have worked but that's testament to the filmmakers, the terrific ensemble of actors and most importantly Zoe Kazan's highly original screenplay as they all have you believing in them, even when you know you shouldn't. Once you've accepted the premise, you can sit back and enjoy the excellent performances all round; Dano, once again, displays his more than capable acting chops with a character that is often, and cleverly, likened to writer J.D. Salinger and wonderful comic-relief comes in the form of Bening and Banderas as new-age hippie parents. The biggest surprise is from the screenwriter and eponymous Zoe Kazan though; she brings a real warmth and creativity that manages just the right balance and allows her to flit in-between moods with ease. Without such an endearing and understanding performance, the film wouldn't have worked as well as it does. With excellent performances all round, and a great mixture of humour and pathos this is one of 2012's genuinely surprising highlights. Like "Little Miss Sunshine" before it, this is a real treat.

- MrMarakai, Wednesday, December 12, 2012

4 stars

An attempt at creating something transcendent that just misses that mark, but still lands on its feet as one of the most touching and interesting movies of 2012. Ruby Sparks is a fantasy dramedy that manages to remain grounded and relatable despite its miraculous plot - a pretty impressive accomplishment for first-time screenwriter Zoe Kazan, who also shines on screen, alongside leading man Paul Dano (great as always). The supporting cast is a dream come true, including heavyweights Anette Bening, Antonio Benderas, and the charming-as-always Steve Coogan and Alia Shawkat. I'm a sucker for meta movies, especially if they're about writing, and so there was never really a doubt I was going to love Ruby Sparks. Yet somehow, I was still constantly surprised by its quality, and thats's worth a thousand words.

- fb791220692, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

4 stars

Nice film. It starts off a little slow, but the pay off for me was near the end where Calvin starts to realise the consequences of what he has done and everything goes to hell. I thought this was really well done and Zoe is lovely as Ruby. Not the most immediate film, but really worth seeing if you can stick with it. (Need I add my Disney- loving mother was literally asleep watching this one!).

- romy861, Sunday, September 30, 2012