Like too many movies The Words starts well, very well indeed, and offers some excellent drama, but fails in the conclusion department.
Dennis Quaid plays an author reading from his new book, titled The Words, which introduces the real story. It’s about a failed writer, well played by Bradley Cooper, who finds an unpublished manuscript that tells the tale of a young American soldier falling in love with a waitress in Paris after the war. The manuscript is well written, and Cooper publishes it as his own work, to great literary and financial acclaim.
However, in a not unexpected turn of events since Quaid tips us off near the beginning, the real author of the manuscipt turns up, as an old man, wonderfully played by Jeremy Irons. It’s the best part of the movie. He tells Cooper how he came to write and lose the manuscript and how it affected his life. His arrival ruins Cooper’s literary illusions and affects his relationship with his wife (Zoe Saldana).
From here the story goes downhill, although thankfully, not where you at first think it will. But it does not satisfy. Nor does the wrap around story involving Quaid, as he tries to score with a young, attractive, literary groupie (Olivia Wilde) after his reading. Good beginning, solid middle, failed ending. By this time you don’t care if Cooper’s character feels guilty and sorry for what he did. This is a great story idea told the wrong way.
Rating: three deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.