The Words

by Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal

When I saw this 2012 film pop up on Netflix I wondered how I hadn’t heard of it. For me, Bradley Cooper is one of the smartest actors around at the moment when it comes to the film decisions he’s making and Zoe Saldana is somebody I find every bit as engaging as she is beautiful. Add to that the inclusion of Jeremy Irons and Dennis Quaid then you’ve got yourself one hell of a cast.

I read the blurb:
A writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.

My main fear was that this could become some kind of alternative version of Limitless – not because I didn’t completely enjoy that movie but because by adding a sexy, glossy sheen to such a plot, it would have definitely detracted from the movie’s great potential. In any case, my interest was high and although it was incredibly late, I simply had to watch it.

From the very offset there is a bittersweet tone and as the narrative skipped from past to present, taking a multi-protagonist approach reminiscent of films such as The Hours. The combination of a beautiful score and the understated on-screen performances of the cast set the tone very early.

As a writer myself I could completely empathise with the lead character – an author who is slowly coming to face the reality he isn’t good enough when he discovers a manuscript that can turn his life around. The theme led me towards many moral and ethical questions, some of which made me feel uncomfortable. This is always a sign of an intelligent screenplay.

The real meat of this story comes when the author, after finding fame through the publication of the book, meets the man who actually wrote it. Again, I have seen films that have ran this story-line and completely mishandle the emotions of both characters. This film didn’t, and instead used the heartbreaking conception of the original author’s story to deepen the affection we feel for both men. For me, the antagonist of this movie is the curse of writing itself and the pain it causes those who pursue their love of words.

It is interesting, compelling storytelling and Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s most impressive piece of work to date.


Watchability * * * *
Originality * * * *
Performances * * * * *
Musical Score * * * *
Overall 4.3


Definitely worth a watch for those who love drama.

Reviewed by Jody Medland


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