Left Speechless by ‘The Words’
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 20:03
Quite some time has passed since I’ve seen a movie as beautiful as The Words. I admit that the real reason I went to go see it is because of my undying love for Bradley Cooper (COL ’97). I would have been content with just scenes of him shirtless and brooding, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the plot had actual substance to it.
The Words is the story of book character Rory Jansen (Cooper), a writer struggling to produce publishable work. His father is tired of lending him money and keeps pushing him to find a steady job that can support a family. Only one person believes in Rory: his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana). Honestly, I don’t know who I had a bigger crush on during the movie, Cooper or Saldana. Besides being unnaturally beautiful, the two of them are flawless actors, with such chemistry that at times, their scenes were sickeningly sweet.
Rory and Dora are characters in a book-within-a-movie written by author Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). Their story is narrated by Hammond doing a reading of his new book, also called The Words. Quaid is no Morgan Freeman, but he held his own as narrator. He also has his own place in the movie when an overeager Columbia grad student, Daniella (Olivia Wilde), seduces him. Wildeand Quaid are not your typical romantic pairing, but it worked in the context of the movie.
At the beginning of Hammond’s story, Rory finds old, worn pages of a novel in a vintage suitcase that his wife buys him. This story moves him so much that he decides to type the words, just so he can feel them. When Dora stumbles across the story on his computer, she is overcome with emotion and convinces him that he should try and get this story published. He ends up publishing the book, and the once-overlooked author skyrockets to fame and glory. That’s great for Rory, as he seems to forget his guilty conscience until running into the person (Jeremy Irons) who actually wrote the book he found. You think getting caught quoting SparkNotes is awkward? Imagine getting caught plagiarizing someone’s life story.
The shafted author then confronts Rory and tells him the stories behind his book. At this point, the movie turns into Hammond’s account of a story about an author who stole a story from a man who had an incredible story to tell. A story within a story within a story within a movie. It was like Inception. Or Russian nesting dolls. Either way, it was awesome.
The Words is subtly funny and has an impeccable cast. As someone who has watched a few too many movies that rely heavily on special effects and not so much on an actual plot or message, I really appreciated the level of storytelling involved. Also, any movie where a main character is referred to solely as “the Old Man” (the true author of the plagiarized work) has to be either remarkable or abominable. I also like a movie that leaves you with a little bit of uncertainty. Go see The Words, at the very least so you can explain to me exactly what the ending meant.
There’s nothing Hoyas love more than celebrating their alum. Congratulations, Mr. Cooper. You and your abs made Georgetown proud.