By Donna Nikki Vargas
Calvin (played by Paul Dano) struggles with a writer’s block after producing a New York Times Best Selling Novel at age 19. One night, he literally dreams of his “dream” girl and finally finds his way out of his block. He named her Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan).
Calvin continues to write about Ruby until she became real. More than the actuality of her existence, Calvin realizes that he can control her just by typing whatever he wants her to do in his current piece. Calvin and Ruby continue to live his fantasy, he decides to stop writing about her, and everything is going well. First point: when dreams literally turn into reality, what else could go wrong?
As Calvin and Ruby get accustomed to his fantasy-turned-reality, she develops into a Ruby Sparks independent of Calvin’s imagination. Ruby becomes her own while Calvin becomes obsessed with the idea of Ruby being his. As their relationship becomes problematic, Calvin goes back to writing his story in hope of putting reality into his own hands. Second point: when reality shifts away from the ideal, people tend to look for a way to hold on to the ideal even at the risk of controlling reality.
The film ends with Calvin finally freeing Ruby from the torments of his fantasy and the spaces of his paper. Third point: you cannot control reality, and if you can, it becomes yet another fantasy.
Ruby Sparks is a takeoff from the same old love stories we are so tired of seeing. People often get too obsessed with their own truths and fantasies. Here is a fictional film packed with several doses of reality. Ruby Sparks represents the clash between the real and the ideal. Calvin has boxed Ruby to being the ideal girlfriend. Every act which is outside the ideal means a word in Calvin’s typewriter in an attempt to change her. This film reflects reality in its broadest sense: people always strive to become the ideals of society.
Fourth point: the film provides a dichotomy of a controller and a controlled. Calvin has put Ruby at his own mercy, making him the controller, and her the controlled. There is a parallelism of this dichotomy in our society. The controller will always have the power unless the controlled realizes it. When Ruby realizes that she is indeed under Calvin’s control, she has shown resistance and empowerment. Calvin frees her knowing that whatever happens thereafter is just a forced fantasy.
Fifth point: when you realize that the ideals imposed upon you is owned by the controller, you will realize that you also have your own ideal and that’s all you need to follow. The film lets us realize that no one can control anyone; not even magic. If Calvin is entitled to his own truth, then we are also entitled to ours. It is only our truths which can tell our story.