Movie Review: 'The Words' Falls Short

Bradley Cooper plays a writer who rips off another writer who just happened to be Jeremy Irons. Bad idea? Oh, I think so...


Bradley Cooper wants to be a professional writer but he can't because, well, he's not good enough. He comes across a transcript form shelved for years, publishes it, and tells the world it's his work when we ALL know it's not "The Words."

Jeremy Irons plays the writer who actually wrote the book. He confronts Cooper's character, accusing him of plagiarism, and then proceeds to tell him his back-story, thus slowing down the film to a turtle's pace.

Other actors in the film include small roles from Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde. Despite a talented cast, the film seemed a bit jumbled toward the middle. You see, there are actually three different stories going on, making it difficult to follow because they are not chronological. This can be especially confusing if you step out for a snack or bathroom break. 

The movie started out OK but then the middle of the film was all about Irons confronting Cooper about the plagiarism, and that seemed to stretch out way too long. And then the movie ended with a thud.

It's too bad because the film had so much potential.

So the Flick-O-Meter gives "The Words" a 3 out of 5.

This movie is a story within a story within another story. That's a heck of a juggling act, and, for me, it just doesn't work.

Let me know what you think.

Head to my Facebook page. It is called The Brettside, and click LIKE.

"The Words" is playing at AMC Clifton Commons. For showtimes go here.

J. Henry September 18, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Brett: For the most part I agree with you. However, there is a critical point to consider in your review – or – better said, an over-arching ambiguity in the film, which has not been addressed. On face value you are correct, if "we" are looking ONLY at the Rory Jansen/Bradley Cooper character versus "The Old Man" / Jeremy Irons character. But, that alone does not answer the question(s), "Who, then, is the Dennis Quaid character, Clay Hammond? and "Where does Clay Hammond fit into the story?" When we viewers are in "real time" in the story (i.e. not in a flashback / back-story), it is Clay Hammond / Dennis Quaid (and Olivia Wilde / Daniella) who are in "real time". The rest of the film is, as you say, a story within a story (amidst an enigma). It is a teensy ambiguous and, yes (because the story was not told in chronological order), it is somewhat difficult to decipher. One possible interpretation is this: perhaps, it is the Dennis Quaid / Clay Hammond character who is the true plagiarist. So, he, as a cathartic confession, writes the book about the writing of the book. (Jeez!) This film is not for your average Spiderman fan, I know that. Also, if the attendance at my theater is any indication, this film will die a silent death. I was THE ONLY PERSON in about a 200 seat auditorium watching the film. J. Henry - Oregon
M.E. Clare September 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
I enjoyed the movie and the actors while hoping that my confusion would be sorted out... but no, it was not. We are left with conjectures and that is it.


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