The Words


The Words

Critics Consensus

Neither as clever nor as interesting as it appears to think it is, The Words maroons its talented stars in an overly complex, dramatically inert literary thriller that's ultimately a poor substitute for a good book.



Total Count: 125


Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,552
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The Words Photos

Movie Info

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde and Zoë Saldana, the layered romantic drama The Words follows young writer Rory Jansen who finally achieves long sought after literary success after publishing the next great American novel. There's only one catch - he didn't write it. As the past comes back to haunt him and his literary star continues to rise, Jansen is forced to confront the steep price that must be paid for stealing another man's work, and for placing ambition and success above life's most fundamental three words. -- (C) CBS Films

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Bradley Cooper
as Rory Jansen
Jeremy Irons
as The Old Man
Dennis Quaid
as Clay Hammond
Zoe Saldana
as Dora Jansen
Olivia Wilde
as Daniella
Ben Barnes
as Young Man
John Hannah
as Richard Ford
Michael McKean
as Nelson Wylie
J.K. Simmons
as Mr. Jansen
James Babson
as Dan Zuckerman
Vito DeFilippo
as New York Apartment Doorman
Ron Rifkin
as Timothy Epstein
Brian Klugman
as Jason Rosen
Gianpaolo Venuta
as Dave Farber
Brent Skagford
as Soldier #2
Andrew T. Mackay
as Soldier #3
Zeljko Ivanek
as Joseph Cutler
Gloria Cooper
as Rory's Mother
Weston Middleton
as Nick Weinstein
Lee Sternthal
as Brett Cropsey
Holden Wong
as Fordham's Assistant
Daniel Gervais
as Fordham's Assistant
Anders Yates
as Clay Hammond's Assistant
Leni Parker
as Journalist
Sebastien Pilotte
as Celia's Husband
Emile Rivard
as Celia's Child
David Gow
as Hotel Desk Clerk
Kathleen Fee
as Woman on the Bus
Keeva Lynk
as Cynthia
Jeanie Hackett
as Joyce Weinstein
Gordon Masten
as Elderly Man
Jude Beny
as Elderly Woman
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News & Interviews for The Words

Critic Reviews for The Words

All Critics (125) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (95)

Audience Reviews for The Words

  • Jun 09, 2014
    "The Words" starts with Clay Hammond(Dennis Quaid) reading from his latest novel that begins with an old man(Jeremy Irons) in the rain. But for the time being the story is more concerned with Rory Jansen(Bradley Cooper) who has just won a literary award. Of course, success did not come easy, as he faced perennial rejection from publishers and agents, having to borrow money from his father(J.K. Simmons) on more than one occasion. So, eventually Rory gives up after a fashion and gets a real job and marries his girlfriend Dora(Zoe Saldana). After which, they decide to honeymoon in Paris. "The Words" is a good look at the randomness of success.(Otherwise, we already knew that writers are a bunch of egotistical bastards.) But unlike a lot of other movies, this should have been longer in giving more depth to some of the characters, especially Dora. Otherwise, the first two acts set up an intriguing story. It's the third act where the movie in trying to answer every conceivable question starts to break down. Now whether that's the movie's fault or Clay's fault is up for debate.(That flirtation with meta weirdness I think saves the movie from itself.) What's not up for debate is Jeremy Irons' weird performance as just past the age of 60 he ironically has no idea how to play an old man. However, I would like to go on the record and say I would pay good money to hear Dennis Quaid read from the phone book.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2013
    The film was good but could have been so much better. I love the style of the film of a story within a story structure. I do like that they create a puzzle hear for the audience to put together, however, my problem with the film is the ending. The ending was a huge disappointment. I felt like the film was building up to a huge revelation about how all the characters are linked together and the ending was like a curveball. The ending raised more questions than answering any of them. The acting was good. I thought Bradley's character reminded me too much of his character from Limitless.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2013
    The ability to write should be first among the qualifications required to write a movie about a writer... but all through this film, all I could think was, "No one involved with this film has ever written anything!" And the attempt to lean on narration - it's like the book you're reading! - falls completely flat, as it's never quite clear who is supposed to be narrating, or (of course) who would read a book were it this badly written. I'd recommend You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger well before this one, which has a similar plot but comes from Woody Allen, who may have written a thing or two before the present movie. I really like the premise, and the talented cast does its best with this disastrous script, but unfortunately The Words is much more about the idea of being a writer than it is a believable story of anything a writer might think/want/do.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2013
    There is virtually nothing that works in this convoluted, nonsensical and terribly-written drama in which not even the visuals escape the artificial and clichéd, and so everything is a complete failure, from the expository narration to the ridiculous story-within-a-story-within-a-story structure.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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