MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Words’ loses its narrative thrust

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Three stories converge in “The Words,” a movie about a struggling writer who’s not nearly as good as he wants to be.
Bradley Cooper is Rory Jansen, a young writer who lives in New York City with his girlfriend, Dora (Zoe Saldana). She believes in his talent, but literary agents don’t, and that’s hard for Rory to take.
While on their honeymoon in Paris, Rory finds an antique briefcase that has a manuscript inside. He immediately recognizes the quality of the story, and before long, he’s passing it off as his own work.
The book succeeds beyond Rory’s wildest dreams, and that attracts the attention of the Old Man (Jeremy Irons), who wrote that manuscript decades ago and lost it. He confronts Rory and tells him the story behind the story, so we’re introduced to the Old Man as a Young Man (Ben Barnes) and his wife, Celia (Nora Arnezeder).
“The Words” seamlessly handles the transition from one story to another, so if this is confusing in any way, blame the reviewer and not the filmmakers.
Rory, Dora, the Old Man, the Young Man and the rest are actually characters in a novel called “The Words” that was written by Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). He spends part of his time reading the novel to an audience and part of the time getting seduced by Daniella (Olivia Wilde).
The movie has its interesting moments, and all of the main characters are portrayed in realistic and thought-provoking ways, but “The Words” trips over itself during the final act. In short, the climax of the film is anti-climatic. The credits started to roll, and I was sitting there thinking, “That’s it? Really?”
It’s difficult to grade a movie that has good things going, then loses its narrative thrust. As a writer, I connected with several parts of the story that rang true for me, providing material for meditation long after leaving the theater. That led me to raise my grade a bit.
I give “The Words” a C.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Wizard review
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “The Words” a B.
“It’s worth the matinee price.”

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.