Ruby Sparks (15)
Shifting effortlessly from whimsy to sinister manipulation Ruby Sparks is possibly the sweetest and most disturbing romance of the year.
Calvin (Paul Dano) is a novelist with writer’s block who cannot find a girl until he invents her. Lo, Ruby (Zoe Kazan) actually materialises into flesh-and-blood reality and turns his life around. Suddenly he’s feted, successful and no longer needs his all-knowing shrink (Elliott Gould) for therapy.
But what begins as love spirals into control. Calvin can control Ruby’s every move, mood and emotion just by typing words on a sheet of paper. He soon comes to learn that real love can’t be written or manufactured.
A fresh and visionary look at love and obsession, Ruby Sparks bursts with originality and an offbeat, off-kilter, left-field view of the established mores of romance.
Yet this is far from a standard chick flick; nor is it a quirky rom-com featuring a kooky heroine who charms all she meets with her boho ways. Instead the combination of Kazan, Dano and directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (creators of Little Miss Sunshine) provides something deeper and far more resonant.
A fine actress who prefers to be known as a writer, Kazan ricochets from adoration to madness as the puppet controlled by Dano’s increasingly desperate Frankensteinian creator. There is darkness here amidst the light. And that’s what makes this one so unique.
Gould is joined in the guest support category by Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas while Steve Coogan crops up as an unctuous publisher. It’s a perfect ensemble for an unusual film that dares to break down walls.