Ruby Sparks: On Fiction and Love

Since What If is one of my favorite films, I decided to pick up Zoe Kazan’s film Ruby Sparks. Having read the synopsis, I was interested in how the film would handle the way love is, the nature of identity, emotion, and personal space. It is a story of a writer faced with a block because of his heartbreak. Given an assignment to write about someone who loves his scared puppy, he writes about a girl named Ruby Sparks.

Now, what is really cool about this story is that she is not perfect at all. In fact, she admits that she is a mess. She is lovable, though. She is sweet, kind, understanding. Even when Calvin resents his family, she accepts them and loves them wholeheartedly. She gives them her attention, her love, her openness. In turn, they love her back. I adore her.

This story complicates the traditional view of identity. We often hope for control over others, want them to be happy, want them to rely on us, love us unconditionally and faithfully (often exclusively, too), which is not realistic. People have free will and they don’t always want to be with their loved ones all the time. This perception of love as a co-dependent thing is not healthy. Spending all time with a significant other is not good for either person in the relationship. The movie certainly raises this point and taps into insecurities people tend to have about their relationships. The moment Ruby makes friends, Calvin writes her as dependent on him as possible, and she is miserable. She is crying all the time and clings to him desperately. He is also unhappy seeing her this upset. So, he tweaks her further. So, she is happy all the time. Flinching, he writes her back and forth, toying with her and it breaks him (and her).

It is not until he sets her free, and writes about it, that he meets her again on equal terms. The field is even again. He does not have the upper hand, which is awesome and much healthier to see. I love, love, love this film. It can be hard to watch sometimes because seeing someone being controlled that much is rough. I can say that it is really well written, well shot, well acted, and well directed. It hits home right away. I highly recommend it!

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

This is Where I Leave You

I really, really, really love this story of This is Where I Leave You. The actors are all great, and the story is wonderfully touching. Okay, I will be open to admit that I picked the movie because it has Adam Driver in it, but I ended up liking it for the whole ensemble. Tina Fey is hilarious and so relate-able. It is kind of hard to look at characters individually, because the whole family fits together beautifully.

The refreshing thing is that everyone is messed up in their own way. All the Altmans lost their father, Mort. But they have also lost things on a personal level. Philip is dating his ex-shrink (and loses her eventually). Wendy lost her boyfriend Horry, who got brain damage. Judd’s marriage is in shambles. Paul is losing the family business because his brothers want to be part of it with him. And, their mother has a secret of her own (I won’t reveal it. I’ll try not to).

Humor can act as a way to communicate really complex ideas, and the funny moments in this story are very human and real. There’s no forced humor, really. I mean, yes, there is some (one or two?) moments of toilet humor (I laughed, I am mostly mature, but it was still pretty funny). But, for the most part, when the characters confront one another, or when they have sincere moments of frankness, it is still sometimes amusing. It is not beat-over-the-head type of moral lessons. In fact, the story is more open ended and vague. We don’t get to know specifics about where the characters are really headed. And, for me, that’s quite a relief, because life is rarely not messy and easy to follow.

Complexity is rare in films nowadays, unfortunately, but this film explores the way relationships don’t always make sense (not right away, anyway). And, that makes me love the story so much. I hope you get to check it out.

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

Love, Rosie

If you ever want to experience a love story, a beautiful one at that, read on. I watched Love, Rosie because the trailers were just breathtaking. A story of two people missing each other over and over can be exhausting, but it is not the case for this film. It is a lovely story about two friends, best friends, who are not sure if there is more to their relationship than platonic love.

And, they go through relationships with other people, longing for each other, trying clasping hands and staying together in some form or another. The relationships are not negative in any way; there was no demonizing of anyone. I mean, there was cheating involved, but it did not make the people seem like bad people. They just didn’t work as a couple. That’s life.

Maybe this is why the film means so much to me: it is one of the few films that deal with my age group without making us sound like boring people. You don’t stop having feelings after you are eighteen. Unfortunately (or not), that is not how it works. Heartbreak is still a thing. Trust issues, clarity, confusion, agendas: these are all things we see in the film. We see what it means to find a soul mate, no matter what the age, no matter how quick it can happen.

There’s crying in this film; there is heartbreak, obviously, but there is also joy and beautiful, beautiful cinematography. Wonderful acting is another positive aspect of this film.

Guess what, though? I would not recommend the novel. It drags on and on. Just watch the beautiful film and enjoy a love story that doesn’t depress you.

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I