Every now and again, a film comes along that gives you hope for the future of movies. Ruby Sparks (2012) directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and written by Zoe Kazan, is just such a film. A young and successful writer, Calvin Weir-Fields, the narrator, suffers a death in the family and an ugly break-up with his girlfriend, which, combined, send him into depression and into the care of Dr. Rosenthal, a psychotherapist.
In order to break the writer's block plaguing the young author and get him to start dating again, the psychotherapist sets the writer an assignment: to put down on paper the traits of his ideal female character. This he will do, creating an amazingly colourful character. A character so real, that she will literally come to life, and turn Calvin's world upside down by tearing down the subtle line that divides fact from fiction.
The following are two excerpts from the film, which give you an idea of the quality of the script and the richness of the language employed.
Calvin Weir-Fields: "This is the true and impossible story of my very great love. In the hope that she will not read this and reproach me, I have withheld many telling details: her name, the particulars of her birth and upbringing, and any identifying scars or birth marks. All the same, I cannot help but write this for her, to tell her "I'm sorry for every word I wrote to change you, I'm sorry for so many things. I couldn't see you when you were here and, now that you're gone, I see you everywhere." One may read this and think it's magic, but falling in love is an act of magic, so is writing. It was once said of Catcher In The Rye, "That rare miracle of fiction has again come to pass: a human being has been created out of ink, paper and the imagination." I am no J.D. Salinger, but I have witnessed a rare miracle. Any writer can attest: in the luckiest, happiest state, the words are not coming from you, but through you. She came to me wholly herself, I was just lucky enough to be there to catch her."
The following is the excerpt, where, lying on Dr. Rosenthal's couch, Calvin describes the female character he has developed:
Calvin Weir-Fields: "Ruby Sparks. Twenty-six years old. Raised in Dayton, Ohio."
Dr. Rosenthal: "Why Dayton?"
Calvin Weir-Fields: "Sounds romantic. Ruby's first crushes were Humphrey Bogart and John Lennon. She cried the day she found out they were already dead. Ruby got kicked out of high school for sleeping with her art teacher... or maybe her Spanish teacher. I haven't decided yet. Ruby can't drive. She doesn't own a computer. She hates her middle name, which is Tiffany. She always, always roots for the underdog. She's complicated. That's what I like best about her. Ruby's not so good at life sometimes. She forgets to open bills or cash checks and... Her last boyfriend was 49. The one before that was an alcoholic. She can feel a change coming. She's looking for it."
Dr. Rosenthal: "Looking for what?"
Calvin Weir-Fields: "Something new."