Ruby Sparks is a modern retelling of the Greek myth Pygmalion, the eponymous title character who sculpts a women so beautiful he falls in love with her, leading to his demise. In this update, Calvin (Paul Deno), a renowned writer in his 30s, is having trouble writing his next big book. He starts dreaming of a girl, Ruby Sparks, his perfect girl, who is from Dayton, OH and likes to cook organically and read old novels. One day he wakes up after yet another dream about her, and writes her story down. He becomes obsessed with writing her, staying up all night and all day to type on his typewriter. He begins to fall in love, nay, not with anyone real, but this character he has invented.
One day, he wakes up, and Ruby (played by writer Zoe Kazan) is real, cooking him an egg for breakfast. He can’t believe it. I mean, would you? Except, actually, everyone can see her, including his brother and the waiter at a restaurant. Knowing full well she is fake, he decides to continue dating her, after all, she his perfect girl.
Unfortunately, he begins to find out that what he wants is to date the static Ruby as he first imagined her, and not the person who begins to change over time, begins to have desires outside the relationship like a career and friends.
To keep her close to him, Calvin amends his writing. First he wants her to be miserable without him. Finding her clingy, he makes her happy all the time. Finding her overly joyous and annoying, he makes her herself again, except that she has been so up and down lately, she acts on whims without regard for Calvin’s feelings, at one point crawling into a pool half-naked with Steve Coogan at a writer’s party in full view of everyone. Calvin, fuming, takes Ruby home her home, and, sensing her pulling away from him again, pulls out his typewriter.
The movie, produced by the same husband-wife duo who did Little Miss Sunshine, is a joy to behold, especially for those willing to look past the impossibility of the storyline and find the true point of the film: that if the person we ultimately desire is ourselves in another form, then, if we are lucky enough to find that person, we will inevitably seek to limit that person’s personal growth, because he or she is perfect as is. But people do change, evolving through age, friendships, stages, interests, and just as we all want to spread our wings and explore the limits of our own potential, so too can we not prevent our significant other from doing the same. Without realizing this, we become Narcissa and Pygmalion both, worshipping ourselves rather than embracing how fulfilling and reinforcing relationships can be if we do them right.
Rotton Tomatoes: 91/100
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