Not another indie movie, Ruby Sparks is the second feature from Little Miss Sunshine directing duo Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton. Penned by actress Zoe Kazan, who stars alongside her real-life boyfriend Paul Dano, it’s a tale of a young writer struggling with his much-anticipated second novel (a lovely confluence of theme with its directors) who writes his eponymous imaginary girlfriend into existence thanks to some Woody Allen-esque magic realism.
Ruby Sparks is one of the smartest films of the year: beginning with unavoidable stereotypes and the glow of new love, it digs deep into the struggles that couples face when learning their lover’s true character. It’s a fresh take on the 'manic pixie dream girl' trope that doesn’t get trapped under the weight of its own ideas, and its fresh, upbeat direction keeps pace with the story’s spiralling emotions. Sweet and unsickly romance coupled with great performances and an erupting climax makes Ruby Sparks an unexpected but genuine hit.