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Jackie K. Cooper

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War of "The Words"

Posted: 09/11/2012 2:34 pm

There seems to be a war brewing between the critics about the new movie The Words. Most are dismissing it as a failed attempt while those who like it are madly enthusiastic about what it presents on the screen. I am in the pro-The Words group, but ultimately it will be up to movie audiences to determine its success or failure. Here's hoping word of mouth gains it some new fans so that perhaps by the time it reaches Blu-Ray status it will draw a crowd.

The movie presents its plot as a story within a story within a story. If that sounds Inception-like, well, it is. Christopher Nolan's convoluted film appears to have been an inspiration for this one. Still this movie is about books within books rather than dreams within dreams. The result is a "what is what" and "who is who" parade of questions.

The movie starts with author Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) reading from his book The Words to a large audience. As he reads, the story comes to life and centers on a young aspiring writer named Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper). He lives in New York with his girlfriend Dora (Zoe Saldana) and has been working at selling a manuscript for several years with no success.

At last Rory gives up the dream of being a full-time writer and takes a job at a publishing house. He and Dora get married and go to Paris on their honeymoon. In a shop there Rory finds an old briefcase he likes, so Dora buys it for him. When they return to New York, Rory finds a manuscript inside the folds of the briefcase. He reads the story (which comes alive on the screen) and is fascinated by it. He knows it is a much better story and a better written story than anything he has ever done.

This point where Rory reads the story presents the crux of the film. Should Rory file the story away, or should he try to sell it? If he tries to sell it whose name does he put down as the author? These are not easy decisions to make and how Rory handles those issues leads to extreme complexities in the outcome.

The look of the film, the intensity of the stories within stories, the musical score, and above all the nuanced acting by Cooper, Quaid and Jeremy Irons make this more than an ordinary film. The issues raised in the story will provoke discussions long after the movie is over. There are many interpretations possible and each can be the right one.

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity.

This is a film you should judge for yourself. Bradley Cooper is one of the most exciting young actors in Hollywood today. In this film he is surrounded by a better than average supporting cast yet he is the anchor for the film. If he were less involved in his character; if he didn't add all the shades and dimensions necessary; if he didn't look and live the part, then this movie would fail. But he does all this and the movie soars.

The naysayers are writing this one off as a total failure but I say it is one of the best movies of the year. Go see The Words.

I scored The Words a well-written 8 out of 10.

 
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