The Words is one of those movies that has a story within a story within a story. With its many layers, I thought The Words could be very interesting. Unfortunately, it’s just a hodgepodge of slow and interesting moments. While I enjoyed The Words, it wasn’t a great movie.
Bradley Cooper stars as Rory Jansen, a struggling writer, married to Dora (Zoe Saldana). The beginning focuses on Rory and Dora’s love for each other. Even though, it’s slow; it was sweet because of Cooper and Saldana have a nice chemistry going on. During their honeymoon to Paris, Rory finds an old, vintage briefcase. Once home, he discovers a manuscript inside of it. Captivated by the story written, Rory can’t think of anything else, which leads him to typing it word-for-word on his laptop. A series of events leads him to publishing the story as his own and receiving high praise and awards for the book.
It’s until one day that Rory encounters an old man (Jeremy Irons) and learns that he didn’t exactly get away with plagiarism. The man begins to tell Rory his own story, bringing us to post-World War II Paris. It’s then that the film begins to pick up. The man’s story is the most fascinating part of the film, and it’s at this point where I became more invested in this movie. Ben Barnes stars as the younger version of the old man. He did a fine job bringing emotion to those scenes.
The movie slows down again, once brought out of the old man’s story. From then on, it’s really only the scenes between Cooper and Irons that kept me interested. I should point out that an author named Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) is narrating Rory’s story line. At times, the film phases into Hammond reading the book out loud to an audience at some type of literary event. This was my least favorite thing about the movie. While I did understand how Hammond plays into all of this from the beginning, I still found it mildly confusing. It definitely created some plot holes and sort of led to a kind-of ambiguous ending that I didn’t find wholly satisfying.
The performances were good, but nothing terribly noteworthy. As mentioned earlier, the chemistry between Saldana and Cooper was one of things that kept this romantic drama from being a complete dud. At best, The Words is rent-worthy. I suggest adding it to your Netflix queue or running across the street to a Redbox when the time comes. Only see it if you’re a fan of any of the cast members and just generally want to watch it.
Rating: 5/10 ★★★★★
The Words hits theaters Friday, September 7th. Watch the trailer here.