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“The Words” stumbles across the screen

Copy Editor
“The Words” is a unique story about, well, words. All right, it’s more than that. It’s about a story, a rather interesting and entertaining story. In my opinion, this movie was designed specically for English majors, or people who have a passion for reading or writing. If the above categories don’t pertain to you, you’re probably not going to enjoy the movie. This movie takes the fascinating form of a story within a story. The skeletal story is one told by Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) in a preview reading of his book “The Words.” But within this book is the real story about an inspiring young writer, Rory (Bradley Cooper), whose work is not deemed as printable in the publishing world. However, his luck changes when he honeymoons with his wife in Paris and they stumble upon an antique shop. He happens upon an old briefcase that his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana), insists on buying  for him. After they get back to their New York apartment, he eventually discovers a manuscript tucked away inside the briefcase. This poignant story was written in the 1940s by an American soldier who fell in love with a French waitress. The two eventually got married and had a child, who passed away. To deal with his grief, the man (who remains nameless in the movie, but is played by Ben Barnes) writes this story that he pours his heart and soul into. To make a long story short, there’s a misunderstanding which leaves Rory claiming this book as his. It is a huge success and his fortunes as a writer instantly change. It sounds like the perfect story. That is, until the original author, an old man played by Jeremy Irons, nds him and confronts him about stealing his work. Rory is then faced with the decision of telling everyone he knows and loves that he is a liar and has stolen every single word of another man’s work. Or he could just pretend his encounter with the old man never happened and go on acting as if the work is his and his alone. This remarkable story could have denitely been developed more. The writers had such a creative idea, and yet I feel like they barely scraped the surface of what they could do with it. The lm had so much potential and they slightly failed. Don’t get me wrong, overall it was a pretty great movie, but as a writer myself, I was wondering where they were going to go with it and how they were going to make it phenomenal instead of just pretty good. I was also disappointed with the ending because it didn’t answer any of the clues that are subtly given to the viewer throughout the lm about how the skeletal story relates to the story being shown to the audience. Maybe it was indeed just the ending that makes me hesitant about giving this movie rave reviews. If the ending had tied the two stories together better, I, and the other viewers, probably would have been more satised. I have to say the cast was superb in this lm. Bradley Cooper was emotional and powerful, Zoe Saldana was captivating and Jeremy Irons was inspirational. These actors and actresses, among the others, really brought the lm and the stories behind  it to life. They made the words become reality and added color to what they created. That’s why it is disappointing that the writers couldn’t be more creative with the script and give it a better ending. It is a movie that could have been something very special. I would have to give this movie 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, just because I liked how different it was and how much potential it had. As a writer, I really related to it and appreciated it. I would denitely recommend renting it if you like words. But if words don’t interest you, which is quite sad, I would say you would be happier skipping it.

Source: drafthouse.com

Dora (Zoe Saldana) decides to buy the briefcase containing the old man’s manuscript for her husband Rory (Bradley Cooper)