Today in school, I had to present a persuasion speech. I picked a movie to persuade others to watch. It was one of my favorites 2012 movie releases, “Ruby Sparks”. I posted my initial review back in October, but this speech was made up completely from my memory. Below, I attempted to recreate exactly what I said in the speech. My final grade was an 88%, but I really think I was robbed. Everyone in the class loved the speech, and when I asked everyone if I did my job at persuading the emphatically nodded. So below you will see my best reconstructed transcript.
What if? At one point in our lives or another we have all asked ourselves this question. What if? What if you wanted something so desperately that no matter how far you walk nor how much you grasp for it, you cannot reach it. You cannot reach it because it is impossible. It doesn’t exist. What if despite the impossibility, you reached out and you got what you so desperately desired anyway? That is the very basic and central idea behind “Ruby Sparks”
“Ruby Sparks” is about a famous young author named Calvin (Paul Dano) that has a deadline coming up. The only problem is that he has struck writer’s block. He had no idea what to write about, but inspiration strikes when he begins to dream about a girl named Ruby Sparks, a girl of his own creation. For one reason or another, inspiration flows through him, as do the words as he writes his latest novel. The more he wrote, the more he started to fall in love with this girl. This girl who he knew didn’t exist, couldn’t exist, but he had to ask himself once again, what if she did exist? How great would that be? How easy would life be if this woman of my dreams could exist.
The more he wrote, the more random objects began to magically appear around the house. Shoes, dresses, underwear. It wasn’t very long before Ruby Sparks herself came into existence. He had willed her into existence. The main problem shows up when you ask yourself…what happens when fiction blends with reality? It becomes nonfiction, and Ruby begins to become her own person, distancing herself from Calvin. He didn’t like this because she was his perfect creation and he didn’t want to lose her. So he asked himself once more. What if? What if I added to the story? Could I change her even more?
His brother and him test out the theory. They write: “Ruby speaks French” and just like that *snap fingers* she speaks French without realizing she is even doing it. So it was then that he realized he could bend her to his every will. So when she does distance herself, he makes her clingy, and in doing so, she becomes extremely clingy, temper tantrum clingy. What’s more, he became dissatisfied with that, so he changed her again, and again, and again. Never satisfied with who she was becoming. What happens when you change someone? It’s like crumpling a piece of paper because you don’t like the original design, making it smaller and smaller, to the point where it is impossible to get back to its original state. That is what happened to Ruby. The rest of the film focused on Calvin as he tried to somehow take a different approach to fix what he has broken.
So this all sounds great, but why should you care? Well there are a lot of important and meaningful messages hidden throughout the film. First, it focuses on the harsh reality of an abusive relationship, because he WAS abusive. He was controlling and manipulative, she was trapped and imprisoned, forced to be his slave. What part of that didn’t sound like abuse? It was about selfishness, and how that can affect those around us as well as ourselves in such a negative fashion. It was about free will, obviously, but it was more than that. It was about showing us that who were are as a person, no matter how flawed or imperfect, is the most beautiful person we could ever be. Most of all though, it was about imagination. Imagination is a powerful weapon in real life as well as the movie. The movie took a mystical and abstract method of showing us what imagination can do, but it can also affect us in the real world as well. It gives birth to imagination and motivation, it gives us the drive to get us where we desperately wish to go. There was a man once that said something that had such clarity and simplicity into the idea of imagination that I could only hope wish to match. It was Dr. Suess who said “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”
This film was directed by a married directing duo, Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris. Before “Ruby Sparks”, they directed a number of music videos with well-known artists as well as short films. However, the only other full-length film they worked on before this was “Little Miss Sunshine”, a movie I also personally loved. It was written by the girl who played Ruby Sparks herself, Zoe Kazan. According to IMDb, she has been in quite a few other projects but “Ruby Sparks” was the first and so far only movie, short or full-length she has ever written. For a first approach at writing anything, it was a masterpiece in my own personal opinion. There are plenty of writers that their first works weren’t so great, but this movie had everything it needed, an entertaining watch as well as several important messages throughout.
So if it is so great, than why haven’t I heard of this film. Many of you may be asking yourself this, and it is probably because the film received very little hype or promotion. I personally believe that this is because the movie had such an important message to tell that could not ever be conveyed properly within the time constraints of a trailer or two. You have to see the entire film to understand what it is going for. A trailer may convey the message that this is a romantic comedy, and in a way it is at first, but it quickly gets into the important messages. It is probably best that this film is spread via word of mouth. Which brings me back to my first question. What if?
What if you watch this film and you learn something about your life that you didn’t previously know? What if it helps you or a family member for whatever reason? What if you receive a different message than I did, and that is perfectly normal and okay. What if this film teaches you about life in general, that it is beautiful the way it is, and that you cannot and should not try to change who a person is. What if you learn something else? What if you never have to ask what if again?