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A novelist suffering from writer's block begins to write about a female character and suddenly she comes to life. That is the absurd but entertaining plot of the new film Ruby Sparks. Paul Dano plays Calvin, an awkward young man who gained fame as a teenager for writing a successful book. He's been struggling to follow up that success as an adult though. The pressure and expectations put upon him have caused him quite a bit of stress, so much so that he now goes to therapy. He tells his therapist about a woman he's been dreaming of who seems like the perfect girl; the therapist advises him to write about her. Once Calvin does this, he begins to actually see her. At first, he doesn't want to tell the therapist about it because he'll be told that he's imagining things and going crazy. This is what Calvin believes himself. Yet this is not the case, as other people see and talk to the girl as well.
Ruby Sparks is the name of the character Calvin has created. Once he realizes that she is real, he can't believe it but comes to accept it. It becomes the ideal relationship for him. He has manifested her to be his girlfriend. There's no explanation of how he was able to do this or why it happened, but he's happy enough not to care. He's got the perfect girl. It's not long before it's pointed out to him by his own brother that he can use this power to get her to do whatever he wants, or even mold her into whatever he likes. But why do that if she already seems perfect? The real question though is if any person or situation can ever really remain perfect in one's eyes. Will the "perfect girl" always seem that way or is it inevitable that things will change? Even the most ideal situation must get kind of redundant at some point, whether it's due to your own perception or other outside factors eventually affecting things and thus causing a change.
There are actually a lot of funny scenes throughout the film. A story like this can get away with a lot more than other more realistic works can. The scenes with Calvin's family, which include actors like Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas, add some extra quirkiness to the film too. But as it goes along, you wonder if Calvin will ever take it upon himself to make more changes or if he will in fact stay content with what he has. Of course, there are moral issues in being a puppeteer over someone's life. It becomes a god-like control in which you'd have to take responsibility for all consequences.
The film strikes a few different tones making for a good balance of comedy, romance, and drama. It may not be based in reality but it presents the story in a modern, relatable context that allows you to imagine how you'd react in such a situation, as eerie as it may be. It's just the kind of peculiar story one might expect of an indie film.
Recommendations: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Se7en , 25th Hour
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