User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 75
  2. Negative: 0 out of 75

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  1. Jul 5, 2014
    10
    Zoe Kazan is really a great writer. This movie was so perfect in many ways. The directing, the cinematography, the soundtracks, the script, the angles, all of them were so fit that made this movie was phenomenal. The climax, they nailed it. Screwed my mind for a month or longer. I cried. This comedy movie made me cry. How was that even possible?!

    Paul Dano was really awesome. His acting
    on this movie was his best so far. Most of his characters from his other movies look similar, kind of a depression character or something, but in this movie, he gave me a new exciting and his real original act, like nobody could act this character except him. He's enchanted.

    I do love the cinematography. I thought this movie should get lots of awards. I thought Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan should get many awards. Thank you.
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  2. Jun 15, 2014
    7
    Ruby Sparks is a fine concept comedy that caught my attention and kept me entertained. The film is quite derivative and not quite as deep as it thinks it is, but it's still a fun time for sure.
  3. Oct 4, 2013
    9
    It's often easy to get lost in another reality when putting pen to paper or fingers to buttons, writing can be a release, a way to escape from reality, Zoe Kazan writes and stars in this interesting piece about Ruby Sparks, who at first glance is the figment of a young writers imagination. Calvin (Paul Dano) is the writer in question, a once successful prodigy who now struggles with writing or conceiving anything new, we are reminded of those who hit their stride early in life, but cannot cope with the expectations or hype that is laid upon them. But we all draw inspiration from often the most peculiar of ways, Calvin dreams about this perfect girl Ruby, who he then creates on paper. His new found joy is soon turned to shock when Ruby is standing in his kitchen one morning eating cereal. The film approaches its narrative from a repressive nature of everything Calvin wanted in not just a girlfriend, but a companion, Ruby and Calvin share an overwhelmingly positive beginning to their relationship, the chemistry that Dano and Kazan share is what makes it much more quirky and enjoyable, we don't really know much about Ruby, other than her actual existence being questionable, it's fine that Calvin's brother Harry (Chris Messina) can see her, but it still throws many questions into the air, especially the one where he can make this girl do anything with his words, which makes for some humorous moments but also emotional despair for young Calvin, who begins to lose the one thing he has complete control over. Kazan proves her talent don't lie entirely in front of the camera, providing a fresh and energetic look at a recognisable story of characters coming to life, while also exploring how limitless the imagination can be, but outlining the dangers of losing a grip on reality. Paul Dano deserves recognition in the highest regard for his performance, his character is nervous and secluded from everyone, seeing a therapist regularly while also staring at a blank white page in the hope that something will come to mind, we see this once in the film but can assume that this is a regular occurrence, but when Ruby comes along he sees his problems disappear, but a heartfelt ending which has great intentions, makes me wonder if it will happen all over again. Certainly a film that throws many questions at the viewer, but also one with plenty of laughs, great performances and great depth in its delivery. Expand
  4. Oct 2, 2013
    8
    I felt that, at times, Ruby Sparks would spill over into a pretentious overflow of "ideal girl" fantasy that plagues every male at some point in their younger lives; but, in reality, it was a beautiful and pensive film that focused directly on the idea of love both the ideal in ones mind, and the reality in real life. I found solace in the idea that Calvin was able to create the ideal person to be his partner; yet, even this ideal relationship was doomed to fail from the beginning, as love is inexplicable (and magic, as the film states in one of the final scenes), and there is no way to 'plot' your own love story which Calvin finds out the hard way. Being able to come up with all the answers, and to fix all your mistakes directly after making them, takes the element out of romantic love that makes it so engrossing and all-encompassing.

    'Ruby Sparks' reminds us that love is, indeed, a collaborative story that can only properly be written by two authors not one.
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  5. Jun 28, 2013
    7
    Such a weird movie, but i have to say I really enjoyed it! The script was very simple, the idea of the film just CRAZY!! Paul was great in this introverted character! Kazan's script was very good, better than her performance. But those eyes whose so ''wet'' and crazy, just like the whole idea of a fiction character comes to life! Once again, just like little miss sunshine, finishing the movie left me a cute,weird and a very nostalgic feeling! Expand
  6. BKM
    May 8, 2013
    7
    A film that is by turns funny, absurd and sad and leaves it up to the viewer to decide what's real and what isn't. But while it is cleverly turning the romantic comedy genre on its head, Ruby Sparks is dealing with more sobering issues including illusion versus reality, the creative process, the messiness of relationships and the allure of controlling another person. Not too shabby for a story about a guy and his imaginary girlfriend. Expand
  7. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    This is a good film but not ''great''. Its an interesting idea and it comes off well .I give it a 7.5 and i'm kind if reluctant to give it 8 as opposed to a 7 but will.
  8. Feb 2, 2013
    7
    The story seems to be inspired by John Fowles's novel, Mantissa, yet I don't see Fowles credited anywhere. Though it begins more whimsically than Fowles's version, it does get quite dark, and it all works well in spite of its lofty ambitions.
  9. Dec 7, 2012
    7
    This quirky little film has all of the qualities that makes for an enjoyable escape into cinematic fantasy. It is well written, well acted, and in takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. This movie is well worth your time. Enjoy.
  10. Nov 3, 2012
    7
    I loved Little Miss Sunshine thinking this movie should be good since it's from the same director and I was right! This movie is superbly acted, with a great cast and fun storyline. Not the greatest film ever but it was pretty good.
  11. Oct 26, 2012
    7
    This is a weird movie. It challenges perceptions and it really leaves you wondering if its all is really happening, and as it turns out, the movie doesn't even handle you the answers. Part of it being so great though, aside from the great acting, is its message. Everyone at some point has dreamed and conceived their perfect couple, in this case the perfect girlfriend, but the thing is, that their really isn't. There is no such thing as a perfect human being. The perfect human being is a creation of the imagination, a depended of our mind, one that because of that doesn't really love you. That is this movie in a nutshell, but it is how it plays with that concept that ultimately as weird as it undoubtedly is, manages to bizarrely stick in your mind for a long while. That at least, is what the movie left on me. Expand
  12. Oct 23, 2012
    9
    This film is pure concentrated wonderful. What makes Ruby Sparks a great movie and Seven Psychopaths a good movie is that while both deal with the same premise, Ruby Sparks has one primary idea and runs with it to its full potential, where Seven Psychopaths has too many ideas and doesn't always know what to do with them.
  13. Oct 5, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie was a joy to watch. For me, a touch slow in the beginning, but simply amazing once Calvin finally meets Ruby in person. Can't give enough superlatives on the acting performances. In particular, Zoe Kazan who wrote Ruby Sparks (!), played her with grace, beauty, depth and feeling. Paul Dano was perfect in his role. That pair together was great casting. I also liked the energy balance provided by the supporting cast; some low key, others passionate; some really fine actors and actresses there.

    This movie succeed on multiple levels.

    I recommend you see it with someone else who loves quirky movies and love stories.
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  14. Sep 21, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Meant as a pointed rebuke against the putative quintessence of women in contemporary film(both sides of the divide), the screenwriter, a female one, as a sort of excerpt from a corrective manifesto, says that "quirky, messy women aren't real," in which she uses Harry, the novelist's brother, as her voice, in a scene where he reads Calvin's manuscript about such a non-woman("You wrote a girl," he adds.), that addresses the trend of infantilizing women. Ruby is just one more waif, another suppositious female asservated from a patriarchal fantasy. Harry tells him, "You don't know jacks*it about women." With this observation, Harry encapsulates the bane of the genre, the romantic comedy, as a whole. A film such as Life as We Know It, a rom-com about godparents who are suddenly bequeathed their mutual friends' baby after a fatal car crash, makes you want to scream along with Mila Kunis, when she vociferates loudly, "Shut up, Katherine Heigl, you stupid liar!" in Friends with Benefits. Heigl's character acts like a child. Womanhood seems to have escaped her. Smiling wildly, despite the gravity of the moment, Holly could be thirteen when the lawyer reads the conditions of the will. On the indie front, Zooey Deschanel, known for her hyper-adorability, which can be sometimes ingratiating, sometimes affected, starred, appropriately enough, in both All the Real Girls, and Flakes. In Ruby Sparks, Harry advises Calvin to write about Lila, the last woman he dated. Calvin, however, is more savvy than he lets on; he doesn't need a lecture; he knows "women are different up close," and that they can be "mean as f*ck," but the former "voice of his generation" shies away from dealing with his ex, choosing instead to write about a servile and uncomplicated girl, the perfect type for a "hey, we're falling in love" montage. Quite knowingly, the screenwriter employs "Ca plane pour moi" to score the genre's requisite compendium of blissed-out moments of mutual affinity(the courting ritual abridged by quick cuts) shared between the young lovers as a means to foreground the latent artifice that belies the romance. Recorded by Plastic Bertrand, the name "Plastic" adeptly communicates the idea of a fake relationship. At a party, Calvin bumps into Lila, who as it turns out, is also a writer, a soon-to-be-published one, which may account for their break-up, since the viewer can make the reasonable presumption that the female novelist was thriving in her craft, while the once-celebrated author found himself being surpassed by his protege, a simultaneity worsened by his miring in a bout of protracted writer's block. "It's weird having two writers," Frank tells his older brother, concerning their parents in The Squid and the Whale, a concept that obviously weirded out Calvin, as well, not wanting to be washed-up like Bernard Berkman, an alpha male, who has a hard time handling his wife's upcoming novel being excerpted in The New Yorker. Both men are narcissistic bastards. "Yeah, well, dad influenced her. She never wrote before she met him," responds Walt, and likewise, Calvin, no doubt, introduced Lila to his craft, but at some juncture, it became a competition, as demonstrated in the scene where Bernard hits his wife, hard, on the shoulder with a ball swung intended to maim, in a contentious game of tennis. Implying as much, the rivalry that exists among writers, Lila says, "Of course not, you're a genius." Good shot. A parting shot. Not surprisingly, the genius makes Ruby a painter(a woman whose interpretation of Calvin would differ from Lila's jaded eye), and when the manuscript is finished, or rather, the finished product, Ruby, materializes in the kitchen, eating a bowl of Crisp-ex, he locks the novel away in his desk. This is where Ruby Sparks goes Charlie Kaufman-lite. As any published writer knows, once a book goes to market, it belongs to the public. But here, it's not the text that's held up for interpretation, it's a person, a character unknowingly estranged from her invented realm where she was fictitious. In a sense, people are reading Ruby, and each person perceives her differently, thereby changing the original meaning of the girl in ways that the author never intended. Ruby is made real through interpolation. Literally, the girl leaps off the page and takes on a life of her own, emphasis on "her own". She's leaving him. Out of desperation, the author rewrites her, turning the increasingly self-perpetuating girl into a codependent. In one scene, Ruby stops walking when Calvin lets go of her hand to answer his cell, stranding the girl on the other side of a busy intersection. She can't move forward without Calvin's assistance, since the writer retracted her life into a story, a plot. His hand is a pencil. The plot stops. He writes her steps. In Stranger than Fiction, the professor tells Harold to do nothing. Like Karen Eiffel, he controls her fate. Expand
  15. Sep 17, 2012
    8
    This movie blew my mind. As I was watching I realized I was totally falling in love with this film. Smart, funny, challenging, even emotionally entertaining. All the while not realizing the subtle enormity of the structure perfectly laid behind scenes.
    When I realized this had been written by a woman, the same one listed as lead actress and executive producer, Zoe Kazan, the pieces of the
    puzzle slammed together like a tornado.
    This is what us men do to women, and how they experience it. The madness. The impossibility. The magic of it all. The devastation of not being able to hold it together. But, above all, how men make it unreal for women to simply be the already magical creatures we are drawn to to begin with.
    From dreaming the girl. Making her into the dream. Acknowledging the dream and wishing it to be different. To rejecting the new dream once it's changed just for our benefit...
    Word to the wise. Come to terms with yourself and let the girl be. It's easier getting to the happy ending that way... And if all else fails, go watch Ruby Sparks. It won't disappoint you, it might even leave a dent somewhere there, and above all, it's definitely cheaper than the dinner you were about to buy for that girl you don't like that much any way.
    Oh! Before I forget. To all those men out there reading this, saying, "Hey! women do the same to us!" My response to that is: "Why don't you go out there and make a movie like Zoe did and then we'll give you credit for your witty repartee. Ok?"
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  16. Sep 9, 2012
    10
    I'll show you bona fide loving. 106 minutes of love, learning, and magic. Love story that will touch the soul and stimulate the mind. Love is real and sometimes things don't need an explanation, rhyme, or reason. Highs and lows, dark times and elation. This movie will take you through the true roller coaster of life and love.
  17. Aug 28, 2012
    8
    A pleasant surprise where intelligence was used instead of violence to satisfy the film goer. I rated this an 8 because it was genuine and original. Although it played off some films and their themes I have seen in the past, it was such a refreshing change from the onslaught of violence that I was so relieved. This will definitely make my top ten films list. I enjoyed the fact that there were several layers to it as well. The writer and the writers power to control his character wes interesting. How he handled all of of that with out killing her like every other movie I have seen lately. A great and pleasant surprise.. Expand
  18. Aug 21, 2012
    10
    The pleasantest surprise I've had in a while. This seems to me not so much a love story or a commentary on male-female power relationships as it does a treatment of the question of how much control the writer has on his imagination and on reality. As such, it has the virtue of getting more interesting as it goes on. The two leads are perfect--this is what American indie films should be.
  19. Aug 13, 2012
    9
    Being a sucker for love stories I have sat through a lot of raved about films, which will remain nameless, the past couple of years but today I got suckered in big time by
  20. Aug 12, 2012
    9
    Ironically, this romantic comedy has a lot of heart in it. Typically the factory of rom-coms produce fluffy drivel, and I was amused to see that this was marketed far off its actual mark. Does the film industry have so little faith in its audience to bare even a tiny portion of its true nature?

    At least Kazon is more fearless than most. Her story and screenplay hit closer to the true
    nature of relationships and personal desires than almost every single rom-com and even most dramatic romance films. Funny thing that such a fantastical premise could deliver such a sobering experience.

    The sad news is that film is lacking in that charm that made Little Miss Sunshine an indie hit. It does not deliver enough positive zing to really reel them in. But for me, the films that mean the most to me are those that take you out of your comfortable zone and risks actually teaching you something more about yourself. In that respect, this film gets my heartfelt gratitude.

    For the people wanting a more serious film on romance, this is an easy recommendation.
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  21. Aug 10, 2012
    10
    Likely won't receive Oscar attention, but this film deserves it. Kazan's script tears apart the unrealistic male fantasy of the manic pixie dream girl by bringing the cliche to life in an offbeat, yet dark, comedy with interesting messages about the nature of adult relationships. There may not be a better script in all of 2012.
  22. Aug 7, 2012
    7
    It's a much darker film than I expected, but I still enjoyed it. What I think might have happened is that the script could have used some tightening up, but the production was probably loathe to second guess the star/writer. And as is true in most of the films he's in, Chris Messina (the brother) steals just about every scene that he's in.
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 12, 2012
    80
    Kazan brings to the role a sweet and dignified vulnerability, keeping rigorously to plausible human behaviour.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    Oct 8, 2012
    80
    Six years after "Little Miss Sunshine," Dayton and Faris deliver a comedy that sparkles with wit and substance. But from the script to her portrayal of the title character, Ruby Sparks belongs to Zoe Kazan, who joins the likes of Sarah Polley and Brit Marling in the rarified ranks of actress/screenwriter double-threats.
  3. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Oct 1, 2012
    80
    Smart, literate and romantic, it's this year's (500) Days Of Summer, but with a few more shadows. Like Calvin, you'll find it hard to resist Ms Sparks.