It’s safe to say Little Miss Sunshine was a huge and well earned success, but who would have thought it would take the directing duo, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris six years to make another film? I wasn’t aware they had a new film out, It was only when I was flicking through movies on an in-flight entertainment system that I saw that Ruby Sparks was the product of these filmmakers. The storyline goes:
A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.
One of my favourite aspects of Little Miss Sunshine (and for many others) was the original soundtrack by DeVotchKa. Remembered for its upbeat, playfulness with an undercurrent of sincerity which in its entirety packed a powerful emotional punch, the film wouldn’t have been the same without it. No wonder the tracks have become popular wedding video music.
The filmmakers made the right choice in getting the same guy in for Ruby Sparks, although this time it’s just Nick Urata, not the rest of the band. However I’m glad for this, rather than repeating himself, Nick has produced a score with a completely different set of instruments which deliver a much more subdued orchestral sound, opposed to the melodic accordion and plucky strings that fitted Little Miss Sunshine‘s character. Ruby Sparks is a far more intimate story and it required something different. He alone is also responsible for scoring other films such as Virginia (2010), which has a stonker of a track on it called, Kiss Me Goodbye.
For Ruby Sparks, Nick’s paid slight homage to the classic horror scores , the movie itself draws similarities to Frankenstein, it’s subtle but noticeable touch. Fragments of the DeVotcKa sound comes to play at times - especially the swirling crescendo’s that craft atmosphere and emotion, but here in a softer, more harmonic way.
The movie itself doesn’t quite cut the mustard like Little Miss Sunshine did, it has a certain charm that will no doubt keep you entertained, but perhaps the lack of screenwriter Michael Arndt is what’s holding it back. The music however is certainly worth checking out.