It takes a certain something special to make a movie about a writer. Of course the films we watch, the books we read, everything on the internet – are all the products of the longstanding art of writing. But those are all the end results – and you wouldn’t often think watching someone write them would be very interesting. That is, unless you have a unique story that can suck you in and take you captive like reading a good book. And that is exactly what The Words does.
Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer who hardly has a penny to his name. He shares his ambitions and aspirations with his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana), who stands by his side no matter how many rejections he gets and how bleak his future seams. After he finally finishes his masterpiece, he submits it to publishers only to receive rejection after rejection. His book is good – very good – but the problem is that nobody knows him. Faced with a fantastic second book and not a first, Rory takes on a low-level job at a publishing house – hoping to make enough connections to eventually be recognized. Years go by, and his future seems dimmer than ever. That is until he discovers a typewritten first draft of an unpublished novel, hidden in a briefcase his wife bought him in Paris. He reads the entire story in one sitting, and can’t get it out of his head. He decides to type out the entire thing, just to somehow feel the words flow through him – for nothing else other than for inspiration. An unexpected series of events lead his wife and others to believe that the book is his, and before Rory knows it he has his first hit – and a second, and a third. But things get complicated when the real author finds the work that he lost so many years ago.
The story of a writer who publishes someone else’s work is intriguing enough in itself, but what makes the film even more interesting is that it is told as a story within another book. Author Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) is reading a selection of his latest novel to an audience of fans, which happens to be the story the film revolves around. Going even deeper, the story which Bradley Cooper’s character has taken as his own has it’s own back-story – which is revealed to us by none other than it’s true author (played by Jeremy Irons). Never does this type of story-within-a-story writing get confusing, as it is acted and told beautifully. The casting for the film was great, and the interactions between Cooper and Irons are fantastic. Several times throughout the story things get emotional, and you truly feel the characters’ pain. Ben Barnes, who is one of the characters within Rory’s story, does an incredible job during the flashback scenes he is in. His story is the most emotional in the film, and he gives a brilliant performance.
With more than one touching story, and an intriguing twist of fate unraveling over the course of the film, The Words pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. With a great cast, and a unique way of storytelling, we watch the authors in the film give birth to multiple stories – making the one we are watching all the more fascinating. There is much truth in the words that come to life during the film, and we see just how hard it is to live with the decisions we make.
The Words is a B+