The Words Reviews
Bradley Cooper offers one of his best performances in this heartfelt and thought-provoking movie.
When words we express, comes from somewhere, when we are struggling to live that comforting life, because we are unable to afford it. When we know where to go make our burdens feel less, but it doesn't last long. When we are gifted with writing, an expression, feeling and view of the world like nobody can see. When some gifts we just happen to find.
We've got a writer (Roy Jansen) who's trying to get published but can't, so he finds a manuscript in an old briefcase bought at a second-hand shop and publishes it as his own. The story is being told by an author, Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid), and as the movie unfolds, one may begin to wonder who the narrator is. Is he the plagiarized author, the old man, or someone else? For we have a story within a story within a story. Hammond who is telling a story about Jansen (Bradley Cooper) who later in the movie is being told a story by the old man (Jeremy Irons).
Of course you have some wonderful actors here, but the material just seemed a bit strained, as if the film in its attempt to be taken seriously bit off more than it could chew. I don't know what it is about films that portray authors a particular way, but they often seem to get it wrong. How do I know? I've been writing for years and have a degree in writing. I've never experienced the tragedy and melodrama most writers in films have, and neither have my writing friends. We aren't full of angst, drugs and alcohol, or some muse that makes us appear different from anyone else. Stuck in Love comes to mind when I think of writers portrayed very unrealistically. The Words wasn't as bad but close.
And I love Irons but the story telling just got boring after awhile and seemed to suck the energy out of the room rather than build it, maybe because his part went on too long. Just tell the guy you wrote the book already. All this flowery melodrama just ain't working (Remember Dora's analysis of Rory's book? "In this one, you're just so real.") Writers are often told to just get to the point, don't bore the reader, but maybe screenwriters don't get that same message. This just sounded like a writer who doesn't know how to write talking about how a writer writes. Right? Oh well.
The final scene between Hammond and his love interest Daniella seemed to actually be going for something a little ethereal, some mystery, merit, and depth, but then the conclusion is just plunked in the viewer's lap at the end. OK, the Jansens's were happy. Wha--?. And finally, why the old man came forward to tell Jansen that he had plagiarised his book is never given a satisfactory reason. Again, promise of something of merit and import is just left cold on the table.
Not terrible but certainly not something to write home about, if you will.
But it's important to keep an open mind.
Not everyone will appreciate this movie. They will see the slow plot development. They will see the very Disney-esque "Storytime" method. For me, it was a reflection of my inner dreams and desires, more than a real life. I think the movie was designed that way. From the get, go, if you watch how it is shot, you will see that no extras are used without necessity... Almost like a work of fiction. And the entire movie surrounds the importance between separating real life from fiction.
Yes, it's very cliche. Yes, it's something we've all seen before. Yes, it might get a little lost at the end.
But this was a very pleasant and very intriguing surprise. And it thoroughly captured me.
I think that this underrated film offers one of Bradley Cooper's best performances.