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Released: 7th September 2012 (US)

Directed by: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons

Reviewer: Katey Stoetzel

Rory Janson is staring at the old man from whom he stole a story and published as his own, and just like his numerous failed attempts to write his own book, he is at a loss for words.

“The Words,” starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, and Zoe Saldana, tells the story of a struggling writer at a cross roads in his life where nothing is going as planned. Letters of rejection are flooding in from literary agencies, the bills are piling up and Rory’s dad has written his last check. Enter the old brief case that was found in a little antique shop in Paris by Rory’s wife, Dora, while on their honeymoon. You can use it for work, she tells Rory.  Nestled inside the brief case, Rory finds an old manuscript containing a marvelous war/love story set in the 1940’s.  This is the story Rory has been searching for.

Okay so, what we have here is a simple plagiarizing story, and the obvious theme here is do not steal other people’s stories and make them your own because there are consequences, my friend. A theme we all learned in elementary school.  But thank God this movie explores deeper than that.

What’s intriguing about “The Words” is it’s three-storyline structure. One story is about Rory Janson, the other about the old man (Jeremy Irons), and one about Dennis Quaid, who starts off the movie at a press conference for his new book ‘The Words.’  Because of this structure, it’s a little hard to follow, and Dennis Quaid’s role of narrating Rory’s story isn’t fully expanded on-there’s definitely more there. Also, Quaid’s narrating was a bit irritating. The first act is slow, showing mostly Rory and Dora settling into the New York lifestyle, and Rory attempting to write but always coming up short.  The second act picks up pace when the old man confronts Rory about stealing his story. Flashback scenes are used to show us the coming about of the manuscript, the story of the old man living in Paris, experiencing love, loss, the wonders of a good book, and the difficultly of writing one. Look, I get what’s going on here: eventually these storylines will all meet up with one another, but the movie has a hard time completely coming full circle. I found the Paris flashback story to be more compelling than Bradley Cooper’s story, and all together did not care about Dennis Quaid. Not much to say about dialogue except “Don’t bullshit an old an bullshitter.” How great is that?

That is not to say that Bradley Cooper wasn’t great, because he was. Once again he has proved he can hold it together in a movie as the leading man, as he did in “Limitless.” It’s easy to see the guilt on his face as he drunkenly comes clean to Dora, which as one of my favorite scenes, was really powerful in the execution. The chemistry of Irons and Cooper, as well as their character counterparts was especially fun to watch.  Zoe Saldana was great as well as Cooper’s wife, although props have to go to Ben Barnes (“Prince Caspian”, “Stardust”) as the younger version of the old man. His performance was very engaging and honestly, stole the show.

As far as cinematography goes, it was nothing too exciting. The best part was once again in the Paris flashback scenes. These images had a very authentic, artsy look to them.  Everything else set in present day paled in comparison.

Thematically, this movie soars, and I’m not just talking about the do not plagiarize moral. “The Words” definitely has depth, and enough memorable parts to rave about.

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