This picture is not worth a thousand "Words"

Sept. 10, 2012, 6:08 p.m. | By Grace Hill | 11 years, 2 months ago

Difference between fiction and reality is muddled in "The Words"

"The Words" is a film about a writer. Like the movie's clichéd story, anyone could guess by simply learning the title. Despite stellar acting from an easily recognizable cast, the poor storyline weakens the film and keeps it from pacing naturally. The theme of balancing success and love could have been interesting if it was developed well, but first-time directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal should have kept their double role as writers to a minimum.

The romantic drama features Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid), a successful but lonely writer, who tells the story of Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper). In Hammond's story, Rory is also a writer who is down on his luck, but his career is floundering instead of flourishing. After his wife, the supportive Dora (Zoe Saldana), gives him a briefcase from a Parisian antique shop, he finds a manuscript inside and, through a series of poor choices, decides to sell the story as his own. In a predictable turn of events, the manuscript's original author (Jeremy Irons) finds Rory. Sepia tone flashbacks reveal the story behind the manuscript of the Young Man (Ben Barnes) and his French love (Nora Arnezeder).

Confused? Seeing the film won't help.

"The Words" is a pretentious movie that tries to tell its story in an inception-esque manner, but because the tragedies of the three authors are poorly developed, Klugman and Sternthal's attempts to imply a deeper meaning fail. By the time the movie ends, viewers will be no closer to understanding whether or not Clay's novel was fictional or a memoir of his life. At one point in the movie, he says, "You have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close but they never actually touch." Ironically, the writers of the film did not heed their own advice.

The only redeeming qualities of "The Words" are the setting, the cinematography and the music. Filmed in Montreal, as it is a location that could pass for both New York and Paris, the movie features shots that show both the commotion of Downtown Manhattan and the tranquility of Central Park. As the Old Man tells his story, the setting change to Paris is smooth and adds to the romantic aspects of the film. Director of Photography Antonio Calvache complements the attractive cast with beautiful landscapes and tight shots. Furthermore, throughout the film, Marcelo Zarvos's exquisite music accompanies the shots. He composes songs that are peaceful yet intense, with the use of mostly strings and piano.

This movie is mainly for artistic, romantic people who will not mind an insubstantial conclusion. Otherwise, it's not worth the time or confusion.

"The Words" (96 minutes) is rated PG-13 for brief, strong language and smoking and is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Tags: Antonio Calvache Ben Barnes Bradley Cooper Brian Klugman Dennis Quaid Jeremy Irons Lee Sternthal Marcelos Zarvos Nora Arnezeder The Words Zoe Saldana

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