BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
SEPTEMBER 16, 2012
As much as “The Words” is a rehashing of films and stories that came before it, this literature drama still poses essential 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 worth the marketing that led up to its theatrical release.
The film could have easily been a painstakingly straightforward drama. Instead, it takes a much more layered approach to the storytelling process. I could also quickly 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. Even though plagiarism is hugely wrong, finding an old unpublished novel is challenging.
The film divides into three different periods, with three different sets of actors. There’s the post-WWII period, with Jeremy Irons falling in love with a French woman, inspiring him 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 recent story featuring Dennis Quaid, another writer, reading his work, combining both of the previous reports into one. Each period has its interesting arcs and related 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 friends from high school, so the camaraderie involved in this 12-year development project is quite the success story in and of itself. I respect Bradley Cooper for returning to smaller roots, despite his super-stardom in “The Hangover” films, and seeing him in more movies like “The Words” will only strengthen his longevity as an actor.
Despite the negative press falling on “The Words,” it is still a great film worth viewing. Although the movie telegraphs its twists, 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.
September 7, 2012
(for brief strong language and smoking)