The Words Reviews

Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

A mostly middling drama.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

The story-within-a-story-within-a-story is so slight and inconsequential, like the tiniest of a set of Russian nesting dolls, that we may be forgiven for letting our minds wander toward bedtime and tomorrow's errands.

Drew Hunt
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

The premise is ambitious -- if not a little hokey -- but the meager themes of ephemeral authorship and constructed realities aren't exactly revelatory.

Lou Lumenick
New York Post
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

Bradley Cooper's funniest movie since "The Hangover" - unfortunately, unintentionally this time ...

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Adam Litovitz
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

This film's layered storytelling lacks the fluidity, grace, or good humour, to pull off its conceit.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Frank Lovece
Newsday
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

Romanticized claptrap.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

This is a film that's thoughtful and elegant, with just enough loose strings to keep things intriguing.

Full Review | Original Score: B
Jen Chaney
Washington Post
Top Critic
September 7, 2012

A well-acted but narratively limp indie that's undermined by a failure to connect emotionally with its audience.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Dana Stevens
Slate
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

It would have been more fun if I'd brought something to throw at the screen.

Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

It's a snooze.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

Writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal chose to make The Words as bland and obvious as its title, wringing out any subtlety or artistry.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

"The Words" is a decent, ambitious, unoriginal film about a decent, ambitious, unoriginal writer. Both aim for greatness. Both fall short.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Stephen Holden
New York Times
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

A clever, entertaining yarn that doesn't bear close scrutiny.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Ella Taylor
NPR
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

The Words founders on a spurious dichotomy between love and art.

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

The Words resonates - richly, remarkably.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

I had planned to watch it, but there's nothing to see.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

It reinforces the misconception that great works arrive in a burst of creativity brought on by a tragic love affair, ideally in Paris.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

Even with one story line and time frame too many, the movie conjures a mean Faustian bargain and leaves a classic dramatic question hanging in its air: What would you do if faced with similar circumstances?

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

While it's no chore to watch so many appealing actors, it does feel like something of a waste to see them hemmed in by such flat material.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

For the most part, it's an adequate romantic drama orbiting an intriguing moral dilemma, but the decision to use a three-layered approach to tell the story makes little sense from a dramatic or narrative perspective.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

Witlessly titled and executed...

Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

As good looking but shallow as its multiple leading men.

Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

The problem is with the three nested stories themselves, which...are treacly variations on what a not-too-inventive Nicholas Sparks enthusiast might imagine to be Hemingway-esque.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

The fatal flaw of this screenwriting term paper is that Cooper's character is a boring jerk we're supposed to regard as a nice guy who made an honest mistake.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

The Words is a movie about writing and books made by people who apparently rarely read.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

You wish it were better than it is, simply because nobody ever makes literary thrillers these days.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

It becomes preoccupied with exploring its fiction vs. reality theme and connecting the dots of its many plot strands at the expense of character development.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

What do we learn? That it's bad to steal the work and identify of other people. For this we need an oh-so-serious movie?

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

Not bad.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

Though set in the literary world and among the suffering souls who populate it, The Words appears to be the work of people who have never actually read a book.

Full Review | Original Score: D-
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
September 6, 2012

I enjoyed the settings, the periods and the acting. I can't go so far as to say I cared about the story, particularly after it became clear that its structure was too clever by half.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Stephanie Zacharek
Film.com
Top Critic
September 5, 2012

Another actor might have made us feel something complicated for this troubled soul, but Cooper merely looks like the kind of guy who would steal another man's story.

Barbara VanDenburgh
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
September 5, 2012

A lush but fumbling literary melodrama outfitted with an attractive, generations-spanning cast and a puzzle box of three competing narratives.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
Top Critic
September 5, 2012

"The Words" leaves nothing to the imagination, smothering all these storylines in narration that spells out the actions we're seeing or emotions we could infer for ourselves.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
A.A. Dowd
Time Out New York
Top Critic
September 4, 2012

By the time a grizzled Jeremy Irons saunters in, ready to dole out a comeuppance, perceptive viewers will have mentally flipped to the last page.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Rob Nelson
Variety
Top Critic
January 30, 2012

A literary film that stands to work best for those who don't read.