the-words

“The Words” is a clever and entertaining film right from the beginning and it does not let go till the end credits roll. But that should not deter us from the fact that it has myriad flaws which were obviously overlooked during filming. And I’m not talking taking a scalpel and microscope and cutting down into the insides of the movie, even a superficial examination of the movie begs us to overlook the faults.
The Words is the directorial debut of the duo Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal who are also co-writers of the screenplay of the movie.

It does not seem too far off that they have derived situational inspiration from the life of Ernest Hemingway who is constantly referred to in the film. In 1922, his wife loses a suitcase full of his manuscripts and for which he never completely forgave her. An incident of some similarity occurs in the movie as well, ok, who am I kidding? The writers apparently took liberty with incidents inspired from Hemingway’s life and never bothered to acknowledge it.


The movie starts with a book reading session by the character of Dennis Quaid, Clay, who is reading out a few lines from his new book, The Words. I honestly believe that this has got to be the most boring reading ever done by someone who has apparently garnered so much of repute. Forget the boring and banal lines; even Quaid’s single toned voice is enough to make you fall asleep. In spite of this, I ploughed on and was rewarded with some improvement as the movie went on. I mean, come on, there was not much room to go downhill after the introductory scene. Nevertheless, Clay is a writer who is telling the story of Rory, a young writer whose two books have been rejected as being too ‘interior’. He gets married to a supportive wife, Zoe Saldana, and works as a ‘supervisor’ at a literary agency. In the meantime, he also borrows money from his father.
The plot goes something like this. Rory gets married to Zoe. They go on a honeymoon. He finds an antique bag in a shop in Paris. He further finds a manuscript inside the bag. He publishes the masterpiece under his name and titles it ‘The Window Tears’. Becomes an overnight sensation and that’s when the shit hits the ceiling. An old man who apparently wrote the story and who is the man in the story stalks him and tells him that what he did was wrong. Rory tries to offer money to the man to keep the secret to himself but is refused. We see Rory racking up the guilt points in a steady manner as he grapples with the shame of stealing something and promoting it as his own.
The film ends with Clay being pursued by Olivia Wilde’s character and he hints that the events in the book might be his own but refuses to acknowledge anything further. The unsatisfying finale to the movie is a let-down to put it mildly and infuriates and frustrates, at least it did to me. Overall, the movie is a let-down in terms of content since the screenplay does nothing to justify the fact that the writers are unconcerned about the ethics and moral issues which accompany plagiarism hand-in-hand. I’m talking about the screenplay writers by the way. I could find a solitary good thing about this movie though, the fact that Bradley Cooper is ready to take up intelligent movies, or at least ones that have a chance of being so!

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