Parents' Guide to

Ruby Sparks

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Indie romcom explores ego and love; language, sex talk.

Movie R 2012 104 minutes
Ruby Sparks Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Ruby fizzles

Here's the thing: I'm not sure if it's the last 2 movies I've seen Paul Dano in, "Prisoners" and "12 Years a Slave," where he played antagonists in both, but I just can't see him as a leading man. He's more of a featured player, like his assured, mute debut in "Little Miss Sunshine." Here he indulges in Planet Nepotism with his girlfriend/screenwriter/actress Zoe Kazan, who surely saves this movie from becoming "generic indie movie number 5020." Kazan has charisma to boot, but she's given the most interesting fact, the only interesting role, besides Antonio Banderas' brief role as Dano's free spirited stepfather. The quirkiness and cuteness feel forced, but as a writer, I certainly appreciated the wit and message "Sparks" was trying to convey: sometimes writers fall for their own creations. It just didn't reach what it was going for...for me.

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (3):

The first half of RUBY SPARKS is near perfection. Within the first 10 minutes, it feels like you're in for a real treat: a romantic comedy that's neither stale nor trying too hard. A lot of this has to do with the film's premise, which is brilliant on so many levels, the least of which is love. While it's true that you'll walk away with questions worth pondering -- What's it like being in a relationship with someone who does everything you want them to do? Can a couple survive when one grows and the other one doesn't? -- Ruby Sparks also makes you think about the nature of art, especially when it comes to writing.

The second half of the film is compelling, too, but the tonal shift is so abrupt that it's jarring, and you're left wondering what it would have been like had the film gone down a more whimsical, magical, and quite likely just as poignant (and wise) path as the one it ends up pursuing. Given the ending (no spoilers!), you might even wonder why the filmmakers went down that initial route in the first place. Grit thrown into the froth of a cutesy indie romance has its rewards -- and Ruby Sparks is certainly rewarding overall -- but was a more potent movie sacrificed? Either way, this one is still a prize.

Movie Details

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