Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks

★★★½

(directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2012)

Fresh from high school, Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) wrote a book that was hailed as one of the great American novels, earning its writer comparisons with J.D. Salinger. Ten years later, he’s still trying to write his second novel, lost in a fog of self-pity which is alleviated by weekly visits to his therapist and apathetic walks with his dog Scotty. His therapist suggests that Calvin just tries to write something simple: a scene in which someone stops to admire his dog. In Calvin’s imagination, the girl who admires Scotty turns out to be everything that he, Calvin, desires in a girlfriend. Inspiration flows and the narrative becomes less of a story and more of a wish-fulfilment.

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The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In

★★★½

(directed by Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)

When my colleagues and I were discussing films, and I said I wanted to see The Skin I Live In, they said they thought it was a horror film.  That worried me: I couldn’t imagine Almodóvar making a horror film. What I found, as it unfolded, was that this was not a horror film (to my relief): it was a typical Almodóvar film wrapped in the guise of a melodramatic thriller.

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