Cast: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Elliott Gould, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan
Director: Jonathan Dayton
From the directors of Little Miss Sunshine comes this charmingly quirky indie about a writer whose creation comes unexpectedly to life.
Dano is a former writing prodigy, Calvin, whose first book was a massive success when he was young. However, he's now in a creative slump, and struggling with writer's block, unable to find any inspiration for any kind of new material, nearly a decade after his first book was such a success.
Becoming more introverted, his psychiatrist suggest a writing exercise to help him - and from that little acorn comes a creative seed of a girl called Ruby Sparks (played by Zoe Kazan, the film's writer), who embodies all of the traits Calvin sees in his ideal woman.
However, one day, Calvin comes home to find Ruby has mysteriously come to life and is now in Calvin's house....
Ruby Sparks is a gentle character piece and a look into what fuels the creative process, invisible friends, the insecurities of writing and the pressures to be a social butterfly these days.
Paul Dano has shades of Woody Allen as he initially paces about trying to seek inspiration for what comes next - it's a sparky performance of a near recluse, crippled by initial success and a lack of follow up. But Dano also manages to make a multi dimension turn of a character who's controlling, struggling to socialise and is massively insecure. There's even a nice shout out to the movie Harvey, when Calvin first realises his character has been brought to life.
Likewise, Zoe Kazan (who wrote the piece and whose grandfather is Elia Kazan) impresses by breathing some real life into the initially one-dimensional character from the page who becomes a living and breathing girlfriend. She accentuates all the frailties and vulnerabilities of Calvin's character while making her own feel like some may in any relationship.
Ruby Sparks is off-kilter, charming, honest, perceptive, funny and endearing in equal measures.