When Sparks fly

Paul Dano gets to know Zoes Kazan in Ruby Sparks.

Paul Dano gets to know Zoes Kazan in Ruby Sparks.

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Ruby Sparks (15)

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris.

Undated Film Still Handout from Ruby Sparks. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Fox Australia Film. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Ruby Sparks. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Fox Australia Film. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll and Elliott Gould.

Running time: 1hr 44mins.

Art imitates life imitates art in this delightfully offbeat romantic comedy.

Ruby Sparks stars real-life couple Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan as lovebirds magically brought together by unseen forces.

They catalyse smouldering screen chemistry, surrounded by a strong ensemble cast including Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening as hippie parents, whose carefree attitude to life and love provides a template of perfection that other characters struggle to emulate.

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) wrote his first novel at the age of 19.

The book was embraced by critics as a modern masterpiece and he has coasted along unable to find the words for a follow-up, or a girl.

During a regular visit to psychiatrist Dr Rosenthal (Gould), Calvin confides that a beautiful girl is haunting his dreams and the shrink suggests that it may be therapeutic to commit these nocturnal imaginings to paper.

Calvin follows Dr Rosenthal’s advice and churns out volumes about the mystery girl.

Miraculously, Ruby (Zoe Kazan) manifests in Calvin’s apartment.

She is blissfully unaware that she was once a figment of Calvin’s feverish imagination and romantic bonds strengthen between them.

Dano is endearing as the introverted scribe crippled by success, and Kazan is luminous, staring wide-eyed into the camera with an irresistible twinkle in her eye.

Towards the end of the film, Ruby speaks for us all when she smiles at Calvin and coos: “Just don’t tell me how it ends, OK?”

OK, we won’t.

Rating: HHHHI