“I don’t like him. I like the idea of him.”
Have you ever heard someone say that and thought what? But I guess it’s an easy thing to happen.
It’s quite easily to become attached to a nice idea of ‘what could be’ in the comfort of your own imagination, but if it were to actually happen, perhaps you’d move very quickly in the opposite direction.
Sometimes, I guess, we become so in love with our own thoughts about things because they don’t have to be justified to the outside world. Things are sugar-coated and drawn with a silver-lining, tailored to look amazing and appealing, created in the private four walls of our heads. They are perfect because you made them perfect. We are surrounded by things that encourage this part of our brain: sleep (dreams), books, or films or looking onto a situation we’ve witnessed that we can tweak to make better to use at a later date for our own pretend scenarios. We are constantly imagining wonderful elaborate things that we think we definitely want and need – when really, it’s all a big made-up fairy tale that might turn ugly if it was to emanate.
This is what made me enjoy and continue to think about the film Ruby Sparks. A story of a writer, Calvin (played by Paul Dano), who dreams up his ideal girl who he then obsessively writes about. He thinks about her in so much detail that she appears one morning, in real life, in his apartment.
He freaks out. A comforting day-dream suddenly turns into reality and instead of jumping right into it, he’s in panic mode. It’s as if he would rather leave her locked inside his typewriter where he can control her. In real life, it’s scary, unpredictable and all a bit too real. In dreams you can’t get hurt.
It’s a cute love story and after learning that the on-screen couple are actually a couple in real life, it makes you wonder if that’s why you get a little tingle in the moments when they are being close on set. The parts in the relationship that become bumpy often get too much, Calvin goes back to his typewriter and changes her emotions depending on the situation so that she is constantly easy to deal with.
This is what takes the edge off the ‘love’ story. We go into the film believing it’s real love and what begins to transpire is that she is his puppet, morphed into whatever suits him that day. It’s a story of men and women trying to understand each other, but he cheats by taking the easy way out and writes her emotions for her.
The film highlights the scary reality of relationships, the fact that you cannot control what the other person thinks or does daily, you just trust that you know each other well enough. If someone walks out on you because you’ve acted badly, you cannot go to a typewriter and re-write the scene – you have to work it out the hard way.
I definitely recommend a watch: it’s easy to watch, funny, endearing and one of those touching films that makes you realise no one is perfect.
Because how boring would that be?
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
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