Cautionary take on love and powerBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE current film, “Ruby Sparks,” is both entertaining and disturbing to watch. At first, it comes across as a fantasy romance about a nerd and the girl of his dreams, who soon comes to life and transforms his sad and lonely existence into a daily miracle of discovery and joy.
Eventually, however, the down side to his marvelous relationship with the girl-of-his-dreams-made-flesh begins to manifest itself: He discovers that, being her literary creator, he wields absolute power over her, and can make her do whatever he wants, just by typing his instructions down in the continuing biography he’s writing about her.
She’s irritable today? Just instruct her to be absolutely happy—and, instantly, she’s transformed. Want her to speak French? No problem—right away, she’s yakking her head off in that language, like a saucy, sexy native.
This would seem to be the best of all worlds for control freaks, but for “normal” people, it could get more than a bit worrisome. After all, we aren’t God, so why should we act like we are? The girl isn’t real, so her creator can do anything he wants with her? Uh, not so fast—in her mind, she’s a real person, so why should she settle for being his unquestioning pet and lapdog?
Thus does “Ruby Sparks” make viewers eventually question, not just the writer’s complete control over his creation, but their own hold on the people they profess to love.
The movie’s title character, Ruby, could very well represent, to varying degrees, some people in our own lives whom we alternately reward or punish, depending on how well they do our bidding.
In fact, the film soon presents itself as a litmus test for our own views on personal freedom, and the real meaning of love, as opposed to gratification and possession.
If you view the movie and envy the writer for his absolute control over his “realized” creation, watch out. It could mean that you may have issues related to the people in your own sphere of existence, and the amount of freedom you “allow” them to do what you don’t want.
Our hope, however, is that “Ruby Sparks” will disturb you enough for you to rethink your own views on freedom, especially when they relate to other people.
Some lovers are so wrapped up in the delicious fantasy of being totally absorbed in their beloved that they feel that they don’t need anybody or anything else to make them deliriously happy.
But, what about the dearly beloved? He or she is a separate person, not the lover’s perfect twin, so he or she could want more.
When that need manifests itself, the “completely loving” one could misinterpret it as a sign that he or he isn’t loved enough, or as much. But, that would be a decidedly wrong conclusion, because the other’s needs and values system are simply asserting themselves, and the love remains despite or even because of the differences!
These and other thoughts are stirred up by “Ruby Sparks,” so viewers are in for a thematically provocative time when they watch the deceptively “small” production. Talk about igniting sparks of discussion and controversy, this movie has them—in spades!
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