Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for a good romance, even though I consider myself a cynical romantic. I saw the trailer for Ruby Sparks and knew I had to watch it. It seemed to an intellectual romcom with hints of Stranger than Fiction and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, wrapped around a character that reminded me of a taller, younger Woody Allen. So needless to say I was pretty damn excited to see it.
And it was great.
Until the last three minutes.
Ruby Sparks is the story of Calvin, a young writer who had major success with his first book which he finished shortly after leaving high school. Fast forward ten years, Calvin is still living off the success of his first book, and struggling to write another one. Why? Well, probably because he’s a complete neurotic mess. He’s seeing a therapist, but it doesn’t seem to be helping him break through the problems that are causing his writer’s block. Then one night, he dreams about a girl. He starts to write about her. Her name is Ruby, she’s from Dayton, Ohio. He writes and writes and writes and the next thing he knows he’s falling in love with her. His brother, who’s pretty much his only friend, is overjoyed to find that Calvin has found a reason to write again. He’s less overjoyed when Calvin calls him in the middle of an important meeting to tell him that Ruby is in his house.
This movie is funny, is packed with drama, and has great performances from all those involved. The casting of Paul Dano as Calvin and Zoe Kazan as Ruby is virtually perfect. Paul manages to nail down Calvin’s dark insecurities, and Zoe is perfect as the sometimes brash but quirky Ruby. Well, not quite perfect. I would have loved for her to be a natural redhead (she’s a brunette) but even as a bottle ginger she manages to be incredibly striking, without being “a perfect 10”. The only other actress that could have been cast for this role is Zoe Deschanel, but she has a more reserved personality, just in general, that I don’t think would have worked for the role. Things get pretty intense between Calvin and Ruby and I cannot imagine Zoe Deschanel pulling it off.
But yes, despite all these great things, the ending is quite simply bad. A simple change to the finale would have made this an amazing movie. Instead, as an audience member I felt kind of cheated, and pretty much everyone else I know whose seen the movie feels the same way.
Movie rating: An almost perfect movie that mixes elements of comedy, romance, and drama with interesting and flawed characters. Unfortunately, it’s let down by an ending that just left me frustrated. Still, watch it. It’s awesome. Just close your eyes and block your ears for the last three minutes.