Is it possible to steal something and not pay the consequences for doing so? That’s part of the premise behind the DVD release of “The Words,” which followed how one man’s impulsive mistakes could impact the lives of numerous people.
“The Words” followed aspiring writer Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) who tried for years to get his first novel published with no success. He was forced to get a day job at a publishing agency to support his new wife Dora (Zoe Saldana) who believed in her husband’s ability when no one else didn’t. Suddenly, Rory’s luck started to turn when one of his novels was published and it became an overnight success. Unfortunately, he didn’t write this bestselling masterpiece. Rory found it in an old briefcase that contained an unpublished novel from an author (Jeremy Irons) who based it on his own personal heartbreak. The book’s real author appeared to Rory one day as a wake-up call that would greatly impact his professional and personal lives based on one mistake. While Rory weighed his future, another writer named Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) was reading his book to a packed crowd about Rory’s plight. He sparked a meaningful conversation with a grad student named Daniella (Olivia Wilde) who could be what he needed or ruin him for good. Will Clay and Rory choose love over a successful writing career?
In terms of questions, the movie asked viewers quietly if they would sacrifice their principles for the instant gratification of success. Could they live with themselves if they had more money than they knew what to deal with? The story started off promising as Cooper’s Rory made the impulsive choice to steal a novel he had no business claiming as his own. Cooper conveyed Rory’s guilt and happiness perfectly in equal measure. He was happy that he was being taken seriously as a writer, but he wished that it didn’t come at the expense of someone else’s credibility. Cooper also had the challenge of making Rory relatable, even though he did something morally wrong for selfish reasons. He succeeded in making Rory a morally complex character, but it would’ve been nice to see some hesitation in Cooper’s character before he jumped into something he couldn’t fix. Irons’ brief presence helped give the story an extra emotional impact as his character told Rory how he was truly able to write the book. It’s a shame that he wasn’t in the movie more, but Irons’ presence was always felt even when he was no longer on-screen.
Sadly, the rest of the cast seemed to slightly disconnected to the main story that was unfolding beween Cooper and Irons’ characters. The only one that was safe was Saldana because she wasn’t in the movie enough to be fully impacted by the movie’s sometimes uneven pacing. It was a shame though, because her scenes with Cooper provided enough emotional impact to drive the rest of the story when she wasn’t on-screen. The movie’s biggest casualties were Quaid and Wilde based on the fact that their portion of the story didn’t entirely add up until near the end. The movie posed the question as to whether Rory and Dora were real, or figments of Clay’s imagination. By the end, it made perfect sense as to why Clay and Daniella’s story was blended in with the rest of the film. The only problems with the movie’s big reveal at the end were that it was never fully addressed and no one seemed to be truly punished for their sins. The story seemed to imply that both Rory and Clay didn’t escape their pasts completely unscathed, which was a small comfort to viewers who expected something more severe.
Verdict: A nice story that had a decent idea, but the movie’s ending left viewers scratching their heads once it was all over.
DVD Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)