Film Friday #103

Ruby Sparks

Neurotic novelist, Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano), drifts through life living off the success of his first novel and wallowing in writer’s block. When his psychiatrist encourages him to write one page, no matter how bad it is, Calvin finds himself writing about Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), a girl who frequents his dreams. Once he starts writing, he can’t stop and it’s not long before Calvin realises he’s falling in love with his fictional creation. And then one morning he wakes up and Ruby is in his kitchen, living, breathing and in the flesh. After the initial shock, Calvin becomes wrapped up in the relationship with his “perfect” woman. But when Ruby starts behaving like a real person with her own wants and needs, will Calvin be able to resist the temptation to rewrite her to suit himself. This quirky romantic dramedy is a breath of fresh air. If you can accept the fact that it is obviously a metaphor for the way relationships evolve after the initial flush of love, it becomes super identifiable with all of the humour, frustration and darkness that comes with real life relationships. Dano (doing his best Woody Allen impersonation) and Kazan are both great and the supporting cast is strong without being overpowering. Lovely. 4/5

Maybe we should have tsken off our clothes before we jumped in the pool…

On The Road

When young writer, Sal Paradise (Sam Reilly) meets free spirit, Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedland) he is unable to resist the vortex of Dean’s charisma and a life changing friendship begins. And that’s about as much storyline as this adaptation of the “beat” genre defining novel manages. I will admit that I didn’t love the meandering unstructured randomness of the book as it follows Sal and Dean back and forth across the USA as they search for truth, beauty and themselves. And I fully expected to find the film equally tedious. However… translated to screen I found myself hypnotised by Dean’s intensity, touched by Sal’s gentle “lostness” and nostalgic for a time when I also didn’t know any better. Somehow visually, I got the visceral aspects of the story that just didn’t jump off the page for me. Hedland and Reilly are both brilliant (once you can get past the fact that Reilly appears to have adopted Christian Bale’s Batman voice) and their chemistry is what holds the film together. Even an almost mute but often nude Kristen Stewart, in the role of Marylou, manages a half decent performance. An unexpected treat! 4/5

“Where are we?”

Rebecca

Shockingly innocent girl (Joan Fontaine) meets disgustingly rich man (Laurence de Winter). Shockingly innocent girl marries disgustingly rich man. Shockingly innocent girl discovers that disgustingly rich man’s late wife died under suspicious circumstances and that her presence hangs over their house like a bad smell. But all is not at is seems and as more and more secrets are revealed this classic Hitchcock thriller will keep you guessing. 3/5

I did a shit in one of your shoes

Albatross

When feisty Emilia (Jessica Brown Findlay) becomes the new cleaner at an Isle of Mann B&B, she acts like a grenade thrown into the middle of the family who owns it. Model daughter, Beth (Felicity Jones) is soon mimicking Emilia’s rebellious behaviour, frustrated writer father, Jonathan (Sebastian Koch) can’t resist her charms and put-upon mum, Joa (Julia Ormond) just wishes she’d go away. But Emilia is carrying a dark and miserable past that won’t stay hidden for long. The theme of this film is the albatrosses we all carry around our necks in the form of the identities we’ve adopted and cling to, whether they service us or not. This is predictable and obviously low-budget but also rather charming. 3/5

You really don’t get the pont of Halloween costumes, do you?

3 Comments

  1. I really want to see On The Road now. And I’ve been wanting to see Ruby Sparks for ages. So many movies, so little time! 😦

    1. Abbi

      I loved Ruby Sparx. It was such a breath of fresh air.

      1. I’ll try to watch (and review) that one soon!

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