Words (Movie Review)

Alison JamesAlison's Commentary

A spoken word may conjure up a feeling, an image, a memory, a person, a scent, a taste, or a string of consciousness. Words the movie, and the story on which it is based, conjures up a life (or two or three). Think not that this is a movie for writers only; it is a good story for everyone. It is a story, within a story, within a story. While one word may mean something different to every listener, to the viewer of Words the final messages are about honesty, integrity and truth.

The layers of the story revolve around a central theme: a writer’s passion for writing and a love gone awry. As one character reveals, it is his love of words that causes him to lose the inspiration for the words he writes, i.e. his wife and child. This thread of lost love repeats itself through the layers. Hats off to Jeremy Irons who not only conceived of this piece but who also brings his marvelous acting talents to the character of the ‘Old Man’. The other terrific cast members include Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wide and Zoe Saldana.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then this “picture” says a lot. The story is that Rory Jensen (Bradley Cooper) an aspiring writer, finds an old manuscript “The Window Tears” in a briefcase that his wife buys him while in Paris on their honeymoon. After reading it, Rory decides to pass the work as his own. En route, he and we are treated to the poignant tale contained therein and Rory rises to celebrity status on its back (a questionable dose of unreality here).

Enter the ‘Old Man’, the real writer of the novel, who eventually confronts Rory.  All of this drama reverberates back to the encompassing story of the main writer (Dennis Quaid) who is narrating all of this whole tale as his book. At every turn, we are reminded that someone’s life story could be the subject of a compelling novel. The stories of our lives have something to teach us and perhaps others as well.

With more than a hint, we are being referred to the “myth of a Hemingway manuscript lost during a train trip through Spain.” Hemingway’s first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, actually lost a suitcase full of his manuscripts at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris. Imagine that!

The moral of the story here? Lose yourself in this moving drama for 96 minutes and remember to back-up everything you write!  Words, nonetheless, does express a beautiful fiction.