Readers are going to be very confused by that woman-shaped hole in the page.
She's out of his mind.Ruby Sparks
is a 2012 Romantic Comedy
film, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
and written by Zoe Kazan.
Calvin (Paul Dano) was once a Teen Genius
author; 10 years later, he has serious cases of depression and Writer's Block
. His only inspiration is Ruby Sparks, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
of his (literal) dreams. After writing a doorstopper Self-Insert Fic
about her, he wakes up one morning to find Ruby (Kazan) in his kitchen
Kazan wrote the screenplay for herself and her boyfriend, playing respectively a fictional character made real and the author who created her. Very meta.
- Adorkable: Calvin and Ruby.
- Bilingual Bonus
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Calvin's mother, much to his embarrassment.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: When Ruby's burgeoning social life gets in the way of their time together, Calvin uses his power as her creator to write her into becoming obsessively dependent on him.
- Defictionalization: Ruby is an in-universe example.
- Disappeared Dad: It's implied that Calvin still has not quite gotten over the death of his father.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French
- Fiction as Cover-Up: The Girlfriend
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Ruby is a great cook.
- Freudian Couch
- Gone Horribly Right: Calvin rewrites Ruby to be "miserable without him" and sure enough she soon becomes incredibly clingy and dependant on him, to the point she misses him while he's eating breakfast beside her. Once she becomes an emotional wreck he decides to counter this by writing her as being constantly euphoric. Which makes her an insufferably happy individual, who looks like she's about to burst into song any second.
- Gratuitous French: For reasons attributable only to indie film quirkiness, the entire soundtrack consists of French songs.
- Also, Calvin has Ruby start speaking French to prove to Harry that he created her and he later pulls the same trick to demonstrate the same thing to Ruby herself
- Happily Married: Calvin's mom and stepdad seem very happy together. His brother Scott and his wife also seem to have a good marriage, despite some earlier problems.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Downplayed: Ruby's hair has red tones, but looks either auburn or brown in different lights.
- Hippie Parents: Calvin's mom and stepdad.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Ruby has them.
- It's All About Me: There's no denying Calvin is very self absorbed. His ex Lila attempts to call him out this, unintentionally describing most of his relationship problems with Ruby in the process.
- Love at First Sight: Double Subverted. When Calvin first sees Ruby in the flesh, he's scared out of his gourd and convinced that he's hallucinating. But when he's convinced that she's not a hallucination (and apologizes to her appropriately for his Freak Out), he's head over heels in love.
- Madness Mantra: "You're a genius! You're a genius! You're a genius!"
- Magic Realism
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: All of Calvin's written/dreamt interactions with Ruby play out like this. Once she's real, their relationship becomes a Deconstruction.
- Meet Cute: Averted. Ruby's initial manifestation is rife with awkwardness, as she acts like a very confused and concerned girlfriend/roommate, and Calvin acts like it's the beginning of his nervous breakdown.
- Mind Rape: The climactic scene, and it is extremely uncomfortable to watch.
- Mood Dissonance: The climatic scene, Ruby is barking like a dog, doing sexy dancing, and spinning around while crying her eyes out, and Calvin is in a full A God Am I mode, but is also crying, and the whole thing plays off as a rape scene.
- Most Writers Are Writers: Calvin is a young novelist struggling with writer's block.
- Muse Abuse: The relationship started well, turned abusive. Although Calvin did managed to finish the book based on Ruby after he repents.
- The One That Got Away: Ruby. Later subverted, if that girl was actually her.
- Only Sane Man: Patrick.
- The Pollyanna: Ruby.
- Proper Tights with a Skirt: Often shows up in Ruby's outfit.
- Reality Writing Book
- Replacement Love Interest: The girl Calvin meets at the end of the movie, played by Kazan but now with shorter hair.
- Rewriting Reality
- Running Gag: Calvin's boy dog pees like a girl.
- When people refer to Calvin as a "genius", he corrects them. Played for Drama in the film's climax.
- Pygmalion Plot: Literally. Thinking about Pygmalion is what inspired Zoe Kazan's story.
- Shout-Out: Several to Billy Wilder movies. Possibly one to Arrested Development. Alia Shawkat plays a girl named Mabel. Her character in Arrested Development was called Maeby.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Astoundingly, the host has the gall to try to start one of these while an actual party that he's hosting is in progress. With the girlfriend of one of his guests, no less.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Calvin spends the majority of the film being self-absorbed and expecting the relationship to revolve around him. Once Ruby starts expressing the desire for space and her own friends Calvin attempts to start re-writing her into someone more dependant on him.
- It's not just Ruby, either, he spends the entire time visiting his mother's house sulking and writing and obviously dislikes his mom's boyfriend.
- Wham Line: For Ruby, anyway. "You're not real. I made you up."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Lila calls Calvin out on how he actually treated her in their relationship, as opposed to how Calvin views it.
- Writer's Block: Calvin suffers from it.