What limits would you go to in order to be a success in your chosen profession? When does the line of right and wrong begin to fade and the gray areas emerge? THE WORDS is a new film that touches on one particular man’s decision and how that choice catches up to him. It isn’t a preachy film and not one that spoon feeds you the answers. This ambiguity may be frustrating for some but will be a tasty morsel for others.
Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer trying to find himself in his work. Rejection letter after rejection letter is starting to take a toll on his confidence. He wants to be successful not only for himself but as proof to his wife (Zoe Saldana) and family that their belief in him is not unfounded. When he finds an old manuscript he passes it off as his own and becomes an instant literary sensation. Now he must face the reality of what it means to steal another mans life and decide if it is all worth it in the end.
This is a very clever film in how it weaves a story within a story, within a story, yet allows the viewer breathing room to mull it all over. It could easily have tripped over itself or got caught up in unnecessary prose. Instead it simply offers up a narative that is thought provoking and entertaining. It is the classic “what would you do” scenario.
The acting needed to be top notch in this film since everything hinges on the characters. If you don’t believe each one of them or in some way engage with them then the story means nothing regardless of how solid it is. Cooper has no problem selling Rory. You accept him as both a struggling artist and as someone at the pentacle of success carrying a burden of guilt. Saldana plays the supportive wife decent enough. Sadly I think you could have injected any number of actresses in that position and it had it work as well or better. The standout performance no doubt goes to Jeremy Irons as “The Old Man”. He easily grabs the first strong vote for best supporting actor.
THE WORDS is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking. It is certainly an adult film due to the subject matter and cerebral story line. It is a think piece and only a mature audience will fully appreciate it. This is a fantastic date night film for that married couple looking for a break from Disney JR. It is clean enough to avoid awkward moments yet deep enough to spawn some intriguing post conversation. Also fans of writing and the publishing arena will like the moral questions it raises. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 book signings. This film doesn’t try and fool anyone with slight of hand or smoke and mirrors. It is just solid storytelling accompanied by a believable cast.