That Batman review will have to wait a bit more.
Ruby Sparks is a romantic-comedy-drama about a novelist, Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) who gets through his writer’s block by writing about a girl named Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), who ends up entering his real world.
I expected a modernized Pygmalion and Galatea, but got a bit more depth and conflict than expected from the creator-creation situation. The movie snuck up on me with some questions, similar to my old ones about our relationship with God as Creator and created.
Ruby was imagined as a kind of person who would love Scotty, Calvin’s dog (whom I believe symbolizes Calvin, sort of). She was an imperfect, quirky girl who loved Calvin. Eventually he stopped continuing his novel about her because it felt controlling and wrong. He wanted her to have the freedom to be herself. They had great, blissful times together. Eventually, Ruby engaged in more activities and made new friends, which made Calvin jealous and lonely. It caused him to bring out his typewriter and write about her being miserable without him. However, it made things take a turn for the worse.
She became clingy and sad when he forgot take her hand. To solve this, he wrote about her being ecstatically joyful, but she became too hyper. When he wrote about her being just Ruby again, she didn’t go back to her original self. After a big fight, she threatened to leave. Angry, Calvin revealed that he could make her do anything he wanted. At first she couldn’t believe that she was just a character he made up. But Calvin demonstrated how powerless she was. He made her walk into a post, speak in French, strip while singing a love song, and repeatedly tell him what a genius he is. It was a heartbreaking moment when she realized how much she was what Calvin wanted her to be, and how little she was her own.
Calvin learned the hard way. It was maddening to have so much power over another being. He could be destructive. His desire to control her only made him lose her. And what’s worse, he lost her not because she walked out of his life but because she lost the center of what made her Ruby. It was a question for Calvin whether he preferred to have a semi-robotic being whose affections stemmed not from love, but from commands that were as empty and other-personly (Coraline’s other mother and other father in Neil Gaiman’s book) as puppets. He chose to let her go. After writing a book dedicated to her, he meets her again, but she’s someone else. They have a new beginning.
One of my best friends would rather have an ending where he just lets her go, without her coming back into his life as the same quirky girl with no memory of their history. I’d have to agree.
When it comes to God, I’ve always wondered why he couldn’t have tweaked the parts in me that tend to act rebelliously. I used to think that whatever flaws or strengths I had were because I was created that way. If I had disproportionate appetites, extreme moodiness, or tendencies towards depression, wasn’t it because I was made that way and wasn’t “corrected?” How could God blame me for the ways I displeased Him if He’s the one who made me that way?
On the other hand, would I truly be free if I couldn’t choose to be those? What I thought were essential personality traits are behavioral choices. On another note, I still don’t understand the whole dynamic or thought process behind God making us and letting us be this way, but I’m grateful for the freedom to be myself. In a balance of omnipotence and kindness, of righteousness and grace, I’m in a state of existence where there isn’t any mental or emotional over-riding, but still with an accountability for my choices.
When you love someone, the worst thing is controlling them into becoming what you want. When Ruby behaved in the misery and joy she was overridden to do, there was just something so disturbing about it. It felt like a world grown smaller, because Calvin was pretty much just interacting with himself. It’s the fool who deprives others the of chance of loving them genuinely, settling instead for a safe, programmed, joke of a relationship out of fear. One could even say, such a thing is like settling for masturbation instead of sex with one who deeply loves them. A lonely little world.
All in all, a good movie. Watch it if you have the chance.