LAFF 2012 Reviews: Ruby Sparks and Teddy Bear
Two of my favorites films at LA Film Fest were Ruby Sparks and Teddy Bear and I’m ready to share some thoughts about them and tell you why you should check them out if you get the chance.
Ruby Sparks was the secret sneak peek film screened at the LA Film Fest this year and I found it very endearing. The movie stars Paul Dano as Calvin, a writer who can’t seem to find new inspiration years after his first novel became a huge success. His therapist gives him an assignment to help with his writer’s block which leads him to write about the perfect girl for him. The twist is that he wakes up one day to find her alive in his apartment. The girl, Ruby (played by Zoe Kazan who also wrote the script) doesn’t seem to know she came from Calvin’s mind, but you’ll have to go see it to find out what happens next.
With a premise like this there are plenty of places to go, but Kazan’ script didn’t go where I thought it would. In fact, I think she was able to make the story feel more real than I expected it to. Ruby Sparks really is an exploration of what would happen if a writer’s creation came to life, and it’s not always happy and cheery.
In addition, with directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who previously directed Little Miss Sunshine) bringing the story to life, they were able to capture some of the simpler and truer moments of this bizarre, yet sweet relationship.
As for Dano and Kazan’s performances, they worked perfectly together and the roles were a great fit for both. There is one particular scene that got lots of laughs from the audience and that stayed with me: Calvin’s reaction to Ruby when he finds her in his apartment… Priceless.
I highly recommend Ruby Sparks for anyone who likes sweet, independent and thoughtful films.
Ruby Sparks will be released to theaters on July 25th. You can watch the trailer here.
Ratings: 8 out of 10 stars
There are three words to describe Teddy Bear: Sweet, sweet, sweet. This was one of the films I was most excited to see at the LA Film Fest and it didn’t disappoint. Teddy Bear is a Danish film based on the short film titled “Dennis” from the same director (I included it below for you to enjoy). It follows a body builder, Dennis (Kim Kold), on his quest to find love while dealing with his overbearing mother (Elsebeth Steentoft), with whom he still lives. When he hears from his uncle that women in Thailand are “easy” to meet he decides to take a trip there, not understanding the true meaning of “easy” in this case.
Teddy Bear is the perfect name for this film and describes Dennis to a T. While he is massively build and quite impressive to look at, Dennis is nothing but a teddy bear on the inside. And this is what makes this film so great. You are rooting for Dennis to find love and get away from his mother who quite frankly is kind of emotionally abusive to him.
I loved every second following Dennis on his journey and I would highly recommend it. You can get an idea of the feel of the film by watching the short film I mentioned above, however I should mention that while I enjoyed the short film, I loved Teddy Bear way more.
Rating: 8 out of 10 stars