The Words is a movie that got my attention when I heard about the cast it would be featuring. Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid, J.K Simmons, and Ben Barnes star in this movie and from all indications from the cast list alone this should be a really strong drama. Then I saw the trailer and it looked like another substandard drama with a ton of drama clichés thrown in. For the most part that is exactly what this movie is: an over-complex piece of mediocre drama.
The Words tells the story of Clayton Hammond (Dennis Quaid), an author who has just released a book entitled, “The Words”. He is having a public reading and while he begins to read out of his book, we transition to the story within the movie. The book centers on Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), an aspiring writer living in New York City, and his girlfriend Dora (Zoe Saldana). Rory writes a book that is rejected by every publisher in New York and is completely dejected and about to quit writing. He finds a manuscript in an old briefcase that his wife bought him on their honeymoon in Paris. He copies the manuscript word for word and that is where the movie really takes off.
The cast in this movie is excellent and they do the absolutely best they can with the material they were given. Zoe Saldana proves that she can actually act and is not just another pretty face in the sea of pretty faces in Hollywood. Her chemistry with Bradley Cooper is what really drives the movie along and gives it its heart. Cooper also shows a lot of promise in one of his first dramatic roles in his career. He carries the movie on his back for a good portion of the running time and maybe this will lead to an increase in dramatic roles for him in the future. It is also always great to see Olivia Wilde in pretty much anything and she does a great job for the limited amount that she is in the film. It also doesn’t hurt that she happens to be one of the most beautiful women on the planet, so it is always great to see her on-screen.
The movie does have an awfully large amount of clichés in it and it really doesn’t have enough going for it story-wise to overcome the clichés. We also don’t really get to know the characters in the movie because it switches perspectives regularly and you never really get to connect with any of the characters. For a drama this is one of the essential parts to being successful and the movie never really accomplishes that.
The movie does get a bit overly complex with the story within a story within a movie. It is kind of like Inception but with no action and a much less interesting story. The main story that followed Cooper and Saldana was engaging and the other two stories just seemed to be needlessly tacked on to make the movie seem “different”. The movie would have been much better had it just stuck with the main story and gotten rid of the secondary stories.
The ending was pretty weak and seemed to be overly open-ended to try to keep the movie in people’s minds after they left the theater. When the credits rolled it seemed like the audience was waiting for there to be an extra scene because nothing is really resolved at the end of the film. So in a way… it was a mediocre, action-less version of Inception. The story within the story was also extremely weak and there is almost no connection with the characters in that part of the movie.
This is a very mediocre drama and you really shouldn’t be racing to go see this. If you like over-dramatic, mediocre movies then you will love this one. But if you want to see a great piece of drama then you may want to to skip this.
Take a Drink: every time the movie switches from the main story to the story within the story.
Take a Drink: every time Bradley Cooper’s character doubts himself.
Do a Shot: for having Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde in the same movie.