Hypnotizing and engrossing, The Words is a powerful drama which explores the depths of modern morality, truth and integrity. Meant to be a possible Oscar-contender, it gets undeservedly panned by the critics while it surely delivers a wonderful and thoughtful story. With slow, but stylish development, complex construction and formidable male performances, The Words is a rich, emotional and elegant drama which provokes and ultimately satisfies those looking for a movie filled with existential questions without answers.
From first sight, the construction of The Words seems complex and chaotic having a story within the story, within the story. The initial two-layer story of Bradley Cooper and Dennis Quaid gets enriched by the one of Jeremy Irons. Just when one could thing that this would make Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal's movie awfully heavy and slow, the movie opens further more to the audience and provokes it with the questions it asks and the conclusions it makes. The Old Man's story is probably the best part of the movie and it reveals the true meaning of depicting Cooper and Quaid's ones. His story and the overall Jeremy Irons' performance give this movie something more, something provoking, melancholic and hypnotizing. Irons and his character are so influential, that they change the course and the whole mood of the movie. What starts as a story about writing and the hard, dramatic life of becoming a recognized writer, turns into an essay, a meditation on life, truth, choices and guilt. Three generations of men face the questions and hard reality of making a choice and living with it and the consequences of it.
One of the strongest characteristics of The Words (and this is probably why it got so many negative reviews) is that it is not as dramatic as some have expected. It has its certain dramatic load, but it lies not in the characters and their stories, but in the existential message which the movie delivers. That is also how it ends: quite open, letting you think about it long after its final credits. On a side note, it should be mentioned that The Words' music score is absolutely amazing and it completes the story in a way in which few music scores do.
In conclusion, The Words may not have received the reception it deserved (in my humble opinion), but it is a movie which would please those who search for though-provoking content, unanswerable existential questions and terrific performances.