Calvin (Paul Dano) is approaching the ten-year anniversary of his breakthrough novel. Calvin’s only companion is his dog, Scotty. With the pressure of writing his next novel, he seeks help from his therapist Dr. Rosenthal (Elliot Gould). He gives Calvin a writing assignment, which breaks his writer’s block and thus creates Ruby (Zoe Kazan). The creation of Ruby changes Calvin’s life.
Zoe Kazan wrote a brilliant script. The story is multi-faceted with fantasy, romance, drama and comedy. In the one hour and forty-five minutes, it is remarkable what the story accomplishes. This film is the portrait of a relationship. Living as a young couple in LA, learning each other’s likes and dislikes, driving up to Big Sur in a 90s black BMW to meet Calvin’s parents. There is also great French music from the film’s composer, Nick Urata.
This is a strong cast. Chris Messina, who plays Harry Calvin’s brother, Annette Bening (!!!) as Gertrude, Calvin’s bohemian mother, Antonio Banderas (!!!!!) as Mort, Calvin’s stepfather. Deborah Ann Woll is Lila Calvin’s ex-girlfriend and strong in the one scene she is in and showing a different side to her acting. Steve Coogan is Langdon Tharp, Calvin’s “confidant.” Paul Dano is an actor. His power to give performances is stunning. This film is a delightful to his talent and ability to move into a variety of roles. Zoe Kazan had to deliver the most for Ruby and she did so. There is an intense scene where Calvin argues with Ruby to tell her she isn’t real. He is controlling her by writing on his typewriter and she is switching from every quick emotional thought from Calvin’s mind. He ends up crying and Ruby is damaged. He loved this woman. The film fortunately ends differently than the scene.
I still want a typewriter.