Saturday, September 15, 2012
THE WORDS (2012)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde
Director: Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal
Genre: Romantic drama/ Mystery
A friend of mine predicts that Jeremy Irons' performance in The Words will garner him an Oscar nomination. My crystal ball is somewhat murkier on that score. It's a damn good turn, to be sure, but knowing how the Academy normally has to be ga ga about the film itself to bestow such individual recognition--and The Words is getting panned by a lot of critics--all bets are off. Those who aren't dismissing the film, however, are glowing about it, creating a dichotomy of opinion that I always find intriguing, and therefore ready to jump into the fray and lay out the naked truth...the gospel...the straight poop. (Regular visitors to this site know that I've never dispensed any crooked poop!)
Fact is, that by the time the closing credits were rolling, I was blown away by this movie--but it wasn't until the actual ending that it had grown on me to that degree. The Words is a tale within a tale within a tale, which can make you forget who the Original Storyteller is to begin with...kind of like all of us wee lost souls here on planet earth (the "riders on the storm" that Jim Morrison sang about).
Bradley Cooper is Rory Jansen, a talented writer, but apparently not talented enough to get his novels published. When he discovers an old manuscript that he instinctively senses is better and more marketable than anything he has created himself, he does some soul searching--but not a whole lot of it--and decides to claim the work as his own. Now a celebrated author, Rory's karma catches up to him in the form of the old man who actually wrote the book (Jeremy Irons)
Interwoven is the story "Old Man" (he is never given a name) created in his novel, about his days as a GI in Paris, the woman he falls in love with, and the personal tragedy they bear together.
Eventually we are steered back to the creator of both these fictional tales, writer Clay Hammond, (Dennis Quaid).
Or ARE they fictional? Heh heh.
Or...has a writer so fallen in love with one of his own characters that the lines between fiction and reality have become so blurred as to be indistinguishable?
The ending of The Words should leave you questioning just what is and what isn't--which may be disconcerting to some--but as a writer I was entranced by the ambiguity...by the possibilities being raised...by a film that actually made me think enough about it as I was heading for the exit that I forgot to stop and take a pee! And one that I will definitely consider seeing again. The only question in my mind is whether the average film goer is going to find it quite as fascinating as some of us literary types will be wont to do.
Grade: B +