In a novel sampling, Clay (Dennis Quaid) is an established author who begins to speak about his latest novel “The Words“. From the books perspective, the audience follows along with the protagonist, Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper). Rory is an inspiring author who just can’t get his foot in the door. Left and right, his book that he spent the last three years on was turned down. After his wife (Zoe Saldana) found an old briefcase in an antique shop, she bought it for him to bring to work. Inside the briefcase, he found an aged manuscript. Finding this manuscript to be a piece of art, and feeling discouraged, he begins rewriting the book word for word. Initially, he did this to gain some kind of motivation or inspiration from what he felt when reading the book, as if he came up with the book. When his wife gives him praise after mistakenly reading “his” new plagiarized book, he takes it to a publisher after her request.
Almost immediately, he gets the book published and is immediately praised by people all around the world. He had the life he always dreamed of, the only problem was that it was not his own. The old man that initially wrote the book confronted him. He was clearly upset and disappointed, but he was too exhausted to start a lawsuit. He merely wanted to tell him the story’s history. After the confrontation, Rory felt an incredible amount of stress and guilt for what he had done.
This film has an interesting concept. You can see and understand the writer’s vision, but you might also be able to understand where it wasn’t as satisfactory as he wanted. On the plus side, it was incredibly intriguing, and you will want to know where Dennis Quaid really fit into the whole story, and if Rory was real or as fictitious as his character. On the other hand, it does inch along pretty slowly, and can make some viewers quite a bit bored. The interesting parts of the film may be just enough to keep the viewer awake, but it really doesn’t follow through with its answers.
First off, this is about a highly-praised novel. Throughout the film, we are told in narrative form what happens in the book…in detail. This book that is supposedly a masterpiece really doesn’t seem like it. Instead, it feels more or less like another war story, and a depressing one at that. Keep in mind, there are three main stories that are explained throughout the film. First, there is the story with Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde. Secondly, there is the main story with Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Thirdly, there is the plagiarized story that is told to us in detail. All three stories seemed to be missing the point. What were they really trying to accomplish?
This could be a film exposing the consequences of plagiarism, or how guilt can psychologically affect us, but if so, it really didn’t have the best execution there either. Instead, it was just three stories that seemed to have the same direction of a biography that had a pretty interesting idea, and quite a bit of potential, but unavoidably unsatisfying.
The acting was pretty good all around, lead by Cooper and Quaid, but it should be noted that the man that played the old man was Jeremy Irons, the man with one of the most recognizable voices in film, most notably as Scar in “The Lion King“. He did a great job explaining who he really was, and what he went through. While his makeup wasn’t all that great, he did pull off a pretty great performance.
In the end, this film was slow, but intriguing. It may not follow through on some of your basic expectations, but for a good majority of the film, it will probably be interesting enough to watch it through without pressing stop. The idea was great, there was clearly something there, but whatever needed to be there was missing in the feature presentation. You will either be pulled in when the film picks your brain, or you will be using it to cure your insomnia.
“The Words” comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Dec. 24!