“Ruby Sparks” (2012, rated R), screening this week at Mesa Public Library, tells the story of young novelist Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) who has not recovered from his early success. Nor has the acclaimed “genius” recovered from his father’s death, or his break-up with his first serious girlfriend.
He cannot write, he cannot maintain friendships — he can barely be kind to his dog.
From this nadir, he begins to dream. And he dreams, like many of us would in his leaky, lonely boat, of love. He imagines a girl (Zoe Kazan) with red hair, bright tights, endearing quirks and absolute adoration for him. He writes her down.
Thrilled to be writing again, he is deeply involved before he realizes he is in love with his Ruby, even if she is a product of his own mind.
The plot reminds me of “Lars and the Real Girl,” which screened at the library in February, in that its protagonist chooses a paramour who is not alive in the usual way. Except here, Calvin knows the deal, and further, is firmly in control of the woman he claims to love.
Also unlike Lars, Calvin never lets go of the fantasy. I think we’re supposed to believe he does, but ultimately, the ending makes it too easy for him to fall in love, again, with himself.