The Words (2012): Movie Review (4.0/10 – Bad)
Review by Box Office
The Words is a movie for people who buy their novels at Starbucks, made by people who write their novels at Starbucks. Oh, sorry, make that “screenplays,” which is a pivotal distinction, since screenwriters mostly dream about writing their novels at Starbucks—you know, “one day.” Or, as in the cases of co-screenwriter/co-director team Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, they dream about what it might be like to be a novelist, and in this case get it all wrong.
An appealing cast, top flight technical aspects, and a storyline that agrees with its intended audience’s prejudices about the creative process could turn The Words into a minor hit. But as the major statements on art and life it yearns to be, chalk this one up as a failure.
Review by Coming Soon
The Sundance Film Festival is often full of surprises, and every once in a while, an independently-made movie with a big name cast shows up in the “Premieres” section without already having distribution. In the case of the festival’s Closing Night film, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s The Words, it managed to score a distribution deal with CBS Films before any audience was able to see it, but it probably shouldn’t be too surprising with a cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons and Ben Barnes.
It’s a drama set in the literary world, dealing with plagiarism and doing the right thing when something too good to be true falls on your lap. That’s what happens with Bradley Cooper’s Rory Hansen, who honeymoons with his wife Dora (Saldana) in France, where he finds a valise with an old manuscript for an unpublished novel. The book is the best thing either of them have ever read, and not knowing its origins, Rory’s wife convinces him to approach his boss to read it. Soon, Rory is receiving awards and acclaim for the work. Quaid plays the film’s narrator who tells Rory’s story to a rapt audience at a reading of his novel called “The Words,” while Irons is an old man who comes forward knowing something about the manuscript.
Review by The Playlist
A combination of shopworn literary clichés combined with an “Inception”-worthy daisy chain of White People Problems, “The Words” fails to surpass dramatically the bland lack of specificity in its title while still offering a solid roundup of performances from its talented ensemble cast. Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who received story credit for “TRON: Legacy” (a film this writer liked a lot), wrote and directed this flashback-laden tale of a novelist coming to terms with his life and work by writing a book about a novelist coming to terms with his life and work.
Dennis Quaid (“Footloose”) plays Clay Hammond, a successful writer who attends an event to read passages from his new novel, The Words. He details the life of an aspiring young writer named Rory (Bradley Cooper) who struggles to get published, and who finally finds success with a story about an American soldier and his French wife trying to raise a family in Paris after WWII. The only problem is that Rory didn’t write that story; he discovered a manuscript in an old satchel, and although he realized it was better than anything he could ever do, his wife Dora’s (Zoe Saldana) unknowing approval of the piece prompts him to submit it to a publisher.
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