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Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks title card

Year - 2012
Studio - Fox Searchlight
Stars - Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Elliott Gould, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan
Director - Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writing Credits - Zoe Kazan
Music- Nick Urata


Calvin (Paul Dano), at age 19, wrote his first novel which brought him much fame and fortune. Now several years later, as he struggles to begin another novel, he has become a neurotic loner, and projects his neuroses on his little dog, Scotty. He daydreams about meeting a friendly young girl in the park where he takes Scotty for walks.

His psychiatrist, Dr. Rosenthal (Elliott Gould), gives him an assignment to write a page about the girl, and Calvin is suddenly inspired to create the imaginary character in meticulous detail, typing the beginnings of a complete novel about her, giving her the name of "Ruby Sparks."

One night at his home, he is astonished when his literary creation, Ruby (Zoe Kazan), appears in his house, acting as if she has been his girlfriend all along. Calvin is frightened, fearful that he is going mad, until he realizes that others can see Ruby as well. His brother Harry (Chris Messina) is incredulous upon hearing Calvin's story. As a test, he persuades Calvin to add new details to his manuscript; he types that Ruby speaks French fluently. When they return to the kitchen, she, indeed, is speaking to them in French.

Ruby Sparks poster

Calvin accepts the reality of his relationship with the happy Ruby, but jealously doesn't want to share her with others. When they visit his mother (Annette Bening) and her boyfriend (Antonio Banderas) in Big Sur, Calvin sulks while Ruby and his family play. Ruby begins to resent his attitude, and demands that she have more space, by staying at her home apartment one night a week. That makes Calvin so sad and lonely, that he goes to his typewriter and writes that she is "miserable" without him. This immediately has the effect of her clinging to him helplessly. Writing that she is "ecstatically happy" results in manic behavior on her part. His situation with Ruby, his creation, has become out of control.