Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ruby Sparks

By DionysusPsyche

Calvin is an accomplished writer. Uncomfortable with fame. He feels all of his shortcoming, and has had a few recent let downs in his personal life which have increased his self-doubt. He believes people he meets care only about his notoriety. "They love you and then they throw you away," he is told by another writer. It must be disconcerting to go from being invisible to being in the public eye. "Write what you can and then disappear," the advice continues. Calvin is a hermit (if he wasn't already one), and isn't a man so much as a bundle of nerves. Because of his anxiety and preoccupation with his success, he has hit a roadblock in his writing.

Until Ruby.

Ruby Sparks is reminiscent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and introduced in not so many words as a redheaded version of Zoey Deschanel. Calvin instantly knows everything about his character as if he's memorized a fact sheet or an extremely old, well circulated internet survey.

It's hard to separate the idea of the film from the actual actions that are going on. The film can be broken down into two basic themes: falling in love and writing. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

The first concept stems from when you first meet someone, and you think they're perfect—not necessarily perfect for you. Just perfect. You have an image in your head of this person and want that person to continue to be the one in your head. People see people as who they want to see them as. Yet, the longer you're together, you discover things about them that make you incompatible, things that are annoying, things you don't like. Some people try to change each other, but that ultimately makes everyone more unhappy and doesn't work very well.

The other half of this is once a writer starts writing, the story takes on a life of its own. It's always with you, even when you're not writing. It takes over—the story becomes a part of your life. Even if you don't tell people about it, it's next to you when you go to the store or eat a meal. It's next to you until it's over. Until you've taken it as far as it can go. Not every character or plot goes where its author thinks it will, and depending on how one writes a story, sometimes the characters do bad things...but those are actions and thoughts that make them people. That make them real. when writers don't write, something happens to them. It's difficult to explain, but if you're a writer, you can't not write. Even if you're away from anything you'd write or type on, those thoughts are still turning over in your head like a ferris wheel. The fair may change towns, but that ferris wheel keeps going.

At first, I took a liking to Calvin. He definitely describes a certain kind of writer, or maybe someone that the audience could see themselves turning into. To a certain degree, I don't think we're supposed to adore him. We're supposed to understand where he's coming from, get that he's broken, and know that he needs to fix himself.

I didn't fall in love with the film like Calvin falls for Ruby. I liked it less the longer it lasted. What I did appreciate was what the film represented. It's similar to Stranger Than Fiction, except I liked Stranger Than Fiction better, in perspective, although that was also a weird film. Ruby rubbed against me like a sandal that doesn't fit your foot and causes a blister. Then the blister pops, and then it hurts. Calvin's obsession with Ruby was both grating and obnoxious, even if it seemed probable. Everybody dates someone or has a friend that dates someone who seems great at first but ends up unbearable. I didn't even really like Calvin's dog...and I like dogs a lot.

Ruby Sparks was great as a trailer. It was good as a sentence. Its actual execution, not so much, even if there were sections of the film I enjoyed. This is a movie that makes a statement, and you either love it or you hate it. Perhaps you'll come to a different opinion than I did, because I see this film as more perspective oriented than many of the films out there.

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