|September 7, 2012|
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking
As much as “The Words” is a rehashing of films and stories that came before it, this literature drama still poses a set of important and thought-provoking questions about morality. With a strong showing from almost all the cast members involved, Brian Klugman’s Sundance premiering pet project is definitely worth the marketing that led up to its theatrical release.
Personally, I was engulfed in the film, which could have easily been a painstakingly straightforward drama. Instead, it takes a much more layered approach to the storytelling process. I was also easily able to put myself in Rory’s (Bradley Cooper) shoes and ask the same tough questions he faced. Being a writer is overwhelming, especially if no one wants to publish your work, and even though we’ve been drilled that plagiarism is extremely wrong, finding an unpublished novel from decades earlier is a tough call.
The film is broken up into three different time periods, with three different sets of actors. There’s the post-WWII period, with Jeremy Irons falling in love with a French woman and being inspired to write a novel after the birth of his baby girl. There’s the modern story of Rory and Dora (Zoe Saldana) moving into a new apartment, while Rory struggles to write and eventually takes the novel as his own. And there’s the even more current story featuring Dennis Quaid, another writer, reading his work, which is both of the previous stories, combined into one. Each time period has their own interesting arcs and corresponding themes and eventually impresses with the ability to tie all the periods together into one story.
Bradley Cooper carries the film sufficiently, proving he has the star-power and acting ability to elevate an independent film like “The Words”. Brian Klugman and Bradley Cooper are actually friends from high school, so the camaraderie involved in the making of this 12 years in development project is quite the success story in and of itself. I respect Bradley Cooper for returning to smaller roots, despite his super-stardom from “The Hangover” films, and seeing him in more films like “The Words” will only strength his longevity as an actor.
Despite the negative press falling on “The Words”, it is still a great film worth viewing. Although some of the twists of the plot are telegraphed well before their “reveals”, the acting is high caliber enough to carry the film through all of its endings, with several engaging performances that shouldn’t be missed, along with some thought-evoking cinematography and well-chosen camera angles.