“The Words” – Review By Zachary Marsh (The FilmWizard)

The interesting about ‘The Words’ is that it is a very hard movie to process at first. The best way I can describe this movie is like so: if the feeling of not knowing what to think of it at first from ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ was in a drama about literature, then it would probably be this film. The trailer for this film is misleading in many ways, the first being that this movie has two stories going on at once, while a third story, which is told over the course of 15-20 minutes, is added in order to shed some background on a certain character. The second reason is that it makes the film look a lot simpler than it really is.

This is a movie for the intellectual mind rather than the simplest audience member going to see this because they like Bradley Cooper. However if one possesses a large mind and wants to be challenged a bit, then this is the perfect movie to go see. Having seen the film nearly a month ago, I must say that the more I thought about it, the more I like it. ‘The Words’ will be hard to process at first, but if one gives this film some time to sink in, then it will definitely feel like a satisfying experience in the end.

The main story of the film revolves around Rory Jenson. He is a struggling writer with a loving wife and not a lot of money. In a flashback, the audience sees Rory and his wife on their honeymoon in France, where he stumbles upon an old bag that could be useful to carry his stuff around. Rory then goes to inspect the bag, and in a secret compartment he finds a story about a man during the war and falling in love with a French woman. In love with the story so much, Rory types up the whole thing on his computer for the heck of it. When his wife finds the story on his computer, he sees the joy that he’s always wanted to see from her in his writing, but he can’t tell her that the story isn’t his. He then publishes it as his own, and the book becomes a national bestseller. It’s not until a mysterious old man finds him on a park bench when things get more complicated than Rory ever imagined.

Everyone in the film gave some good performances. Sadly enough, the weakest part of the cast belonged to Bradley Cooper. He was good in the film without a doubt, but he can’t quite handle some of the scenes in the film where he’s crying to perfection yet. Luckily, he is getting there, and it does show. Zoë Saldaña is good playing the loving and supporting wife of Rory, but it seems that she’s not given much to do in the film. She does play the loving wife well, but all she’s given to do is support Rory, sleep with Rory, or argue with Rory. It’s minor complaint, but still Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde have their own storyline in the movie, and their chemistry in it is strong and likable. Separately they are really good in the film, even though their roles are sort of minor and don’t really do much other than keep the story moving. However the best performance in the film hands down belongs to Sir Jeremy Irons. Warning: major spoilers to come in the next two paragraphs.

Irons plays the mysterious old man who confronts Rory Jenson on a park bench and tells him a little story he has. In case it’s hard to figure out, the old man is the author of the story that Rory stole as his own. As it turns out, the story is based on the old man’s life with his soul-mate in Paris, where tragedy and love bloom in the story. This is such an interesting character to inspect, because his short presence in the movie really impacts the feel of the rest of the movie. Irons pulls it out of the park to say the least. He might even be worthy of awards consideration. Sure the performance is small, but Irons just gives it all he has and he is simply terrific in this movie. It kind of makes sense that Irons is such a complicated character, because that’s just a taste of what the final 15 minutes of the movie will bring.

The thing about this film that will split the audience’s opinion directly down the middle is the ending. It’s revealed that Rory Jenson’s story was written by Dennis Quaid’s character, but it leaves you to think whether the story was based on Quaid’s character’s life or was just a figment of his imagination. Not only that, but it just ends with a shot of Bradley Cooper and Zoë Saldaña lying on their bed, which is just the picture on the film’s poster. The ending is left to many interpretations with a lot of thought put into it, but the initial reaction will overall be “what the hell was that?” You can either be a fan of the ending, or you will go on hating it when thinking of interpretations to come up with. I for one actually enjoyed the ending after some thought, but that was mostly because someone gave me their interpretation after my screening. Either way, people will either like the confusing ending, or hate it to a pulse.

‘The Words’ is a complex movie to digest on a first viewing. It’s kind of a non-sci-fi version of ‘Inception‘ where the audience is supposed to determine what they just saw was real or fiction. This movie will probably be more diverse than ‘Inception,’ so the reactions will be literally split down the middle. The acting is good, with the standout performance coming from Jeremy Irons. The script is well written and well structured, but again it goes back to that complex ending. This is probably best seen more than once to fully digest everything presented on screen. Despite having seen this film a month ago, I do want to see if I can get anything new out of the movie. The only words that will be spewing out of an audience member’s mouth will be “what the hell did I just see,” and that could either be a good thing or a bad thing; it depends on the viewer’s reaction and how much they think of the movie after.


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