3 out of 5
“It’s about a man who wrote a book and lost it and the pissant kid who found it”
Now I must address the film The Words. Normally my need to review a movie comes from it being exceptional, either truly awful or completely amazing. The Words is unique as it’s squarely in the middle, as my above rating indicates. So why do I feel the need to write about it? Probably because it focuses on multiple writers, which is what I’ve considered myself since age four.
I’ve been wanting to see this since I saw the trailer during the theatrical release. However not enough to actually pay theater prices. Thanks Redbox! Bradley Cooper again plays a writer. What is with this by the way? I loved Limitless and he was also a journalist on Alias. I just ponder if he wanted to be a writer when he was younger or if it’s a depth thing. Ya know, ooh, I’m playing a writer, he must be deep! Well this is no Limitless (super re-watchable despite plausibility, motivation and attraction between the characters).
As I’d gathered from the trailer (and is stated above during the film) this movie centers on Cooper’s character plagiarizing someone’s else’s story. I know, I KNOW, WHAT THE FUCK?!?! I’m sure this is what all of us who write thought but I had to see it. Especially since the trailer features a strong willed Jeremy Irons yelling at him about “stealing my life”.
Unfortunately the film starts out with plenty of steam but peters out and leaves one quite dissatisfied. Cooper desperately wants to be a published author. The problem? He’s not talented or at least not enough. When he’s hitting his father up for money even he has to reiterate this for him. Maybe he’s not without potential but just not easy to sell as Ron Rifkin later indicates. BTW-Why waste Rifkin like this? (a favor because they were both in Alias?, I mean he’s in the movie for like 2 minutes max). Actually it seems like many actors are simply wasted in their roles.
At any rate, after submitting his novel and receiving many letters declining it Cooper eventually has to get a day job. A day job at a publishing house of course just so he knows the right people in case he ever becomes talented. Prior to this he meets and falls for Zoe Saldana’s character. Saldana is also woefully underused in this (as she seems to be in many films, I so can’t wait for her Nina Simone biopic, I bet it shall be epic!). They are (convincingly, well at least that works) in love and lust and even get married. She bypasses him in the career game though, as an outburst by him at a classy dinner indicates. No, I have no idea what her job is. Yes, as other critics have mentioned her character isn’t fleshed out.
During their honeymoon in Paris (which I can only assume she paid for) they stumble upon a nice looking briefcase in an antiques store. She buys it for him as a wedding gift. After he’s given up his dreams he decides to transfer his work papers from his current plastic Staples style binder to it and comes across an old typed story. Why does he have important work papers anyway, isn’t he likes a mailroom clerk? Oye.
He immediately reads the story that we only see incredibly quick clips of but it includes a soldier in the past. Then as the narrator indicates he feels compelled to type it out, as if the words were so great that he had to channel the greatness through his fingertips. I’m sorry, but that is completely stupid. I love to read and I have never typed out more than a few lines from a writer to share their genius with the world. If he didn’t already have sinister intentions then I’ll eat one of my many hats.
Of course Saldana comes across it on his computer and is so moved that she FUCKING CRIES! Really? REALLY?!? That’s a major overreaction but whatever. She swears that she’s never looked through his laptop before but she just happened to today (umm, yeah I totally believe her, right ladies?) and she’s overcome. He must take it to someone at the publishing house that he works at and sell it. He just must. At first he seems like he will spill all but he thinks better of it because she thinks he’s actually hot shit now. So he sells it.
Yes, he sells it. Plus it’s so good that a major dude at the company reads it one night. Ahem, sounds like bullshit. Then it becomes a bestseller, makes them rich and wins awards.
This is when the fantastically talented Jeremy Irons enters the picture (I must admit that I do miss him being all sexay in the ’90s though). Irons informs Cooper that it’s his story that was lost years and years ago. Though the trailer implies that Irons will go ape shit and try to make Cooper’s life hell he actually, mainly, just wants to share the full story with someone. It’s a melodramatic love story.
Before you think this movie is a story within a story, I have news for you! It’s story within a story within a story. Dennis Quaid, again super underused in this, is actually telling the story of Cooper’s character, which is his novel. Quaid plays a completely superficial hot author who just wants tail in this. Seriously, when you have decades on Bradley Cooper and you come off as vapid while he is actually able to show some pathos, well, what were the filmmakers thinking?
Quaid is hit on by an aspiring writer and college student with a crush, as played by Olivia Wilde. Since this is a movie we are supposed to believe that the attractive, though always somewhat alien looking Wilde, is a fresh faced college student though in real life she’s actually 28. None of that matters though because we now have 3 or 4 stories going and none of them are all that interesting.
At first I thought that Quaid had stumbled upon the story of the young author and would at some point out him (as I’d hoped Irons would do, but didn’t). Instead it’s intimated that Quaid may be the Cooper character and that he’s fictionalized himself.
Whew! So what ultimately happens? Well not a whole hell of a lot but I’m not one to give away endings anyway. So should you watch it? If you are a huge fan of Cooper, then yes. If you are a big fan of any of the other actors then maybe you want to steer clear as they aren’t getting their due anyway.
BTW-The Words may or may not be a rip off of a Swedish book and story entitled Lila Lila, which is pretty insane considering the subject matter. Plus the original sounds more compelling.
Photos are from the Official The Words Facebook
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