Film Review: “The Words”

the-words-movie-poster-as book cover

“Almost every word Ernest Hemingway wrote in the years immediately before 1922 was lost by his first wife Hadley, who packed the pages in a briefcase and lost it on a train.” — Roger Ebert


I am an avid Hemingway fan but was unaware of the lost manuscript. Knowing that now does add dimension to the viewing of “The Words,” I feel the characters Dennis Quaid (Clayton) and Olivia Wilde (Danielle) are pretty unnecessary to the telling of the story. Their only value seems to be setting up the premise of one writer writing about another writer finding the missing manuscript.

The-Words-bradley alone with briefcase

One is not sure while watching “The Words” what is the reality and what is the fiction. Are any of the characters in the film real. Maybe Clayton (Dennis Quaid) is the only real character telling the rest of the story in his book.

the-words-2012 words form the bust of bradley cooper

At the very beginning of the film you see a prominently viewed book with the title ‘The Words.’ It does set off the film on a journey to figure out what is happening. I felt the story of the characters from the early part of the century are rather boring. They could have been pulled together and referred to in a more minimal way. Even though they were the basis of the story in the book that is found inside a leather briefcase that Rory (Bradley Cooper) and his girlfriend, Dora, played by Zoe Saldana, bought in an antique shop.

the-words-movie-poster a secret in the present with manuscript

The most interesting parts of the film evolve around Rory (Bradley Cooper). I found myself much more interested in what was happening to his life, his decisions, his relationships and his dialogue, especially with The Old Man, played by Jeremy Irons. Irons was brilliant. Telling the story inside the book that was found in the antique store. It was his story, he wrote it, and now Rory is trying to decide whether to claim it as his own story.

The-Words-manuscipt entering into laptop

Rory’s own writing wasn’t what the publisher wanted. It may have been good but his work was being rejected. So now Rory has a chance to convert the book in the briefcase into his own. It was a serious decision, if decided wrong, would affect his entire life and those people in it. Stealing someone else’s work and putting his name on it. Could he do this? How would he live with himself?

The-Words-Movie-jeremy back of head bradley smiling at old man

I do wish the writer and director had used the story line that the book was Hemingway’s missing manuscript. How exciting would that have been.

the-words-talking to old man in greenhouse

The film is absorbing and for me I felt the need to watch it multiple times.

The premise of stealing someone else’s artistic work is an unethical thing to do. If it backfires, what is ahead for the person guilty of such an offense? Watch “The Words” to discover what happens. It’s an adventure in moralistic cleansing and deception.

the words center of bradley's face

I cannot let go of the intrigue of the lost manuscript being that of Ernest Hemingway. How could his wife have been so careless as to lose his work so thoughtlessly. How frustrating is that and how much it would have pumped up the whole depth of the story. The whole film would have taken on a completely different aura. Yet, The Old Man’s story as told by Jeremy Iron is moving and takes you on the vision of a sad story.

The film is worthy of being seen in just the way it is portrayed. I highly recommend it. Writers, in particular, will enjoy the debate in their own minds, how ethical overall was the decision Rory makes.

the words banner

See the film “The Words” and enjoy an intriguing story. You will not be disappointed. I enjoyed every time and moment I viewed “The Words.”

“The Words” – Official Trailer (2012) [HD] Bradley Cooper

“The Words” (2012)

Bradley cooper as Rory
Dennis Quaid as Clayton
Zoe Saldana as Dora
Olivia Wilde as Danielle
Jeremy irons as The Old Man

Written and directed:
Brian Klugman
Lee Sternthal

Drama, thriller

Rated PG-13
Brief Strong Language and Smoking

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
Film Review: "The Words", 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

About the Author:

Words. Ideas. Visions. Sounds. Abstractions. Attract the Writer. Poet. Artist Inside of Me. Seeking Out the Unknown & Infinite Possibilities & Impossibilities. Living My Life Filled with Imagination & Creativity. Zen – j.kiley
  • garry crystal

    I’ve watched this film a couple of times now, mainly because I found the plotline so intriguing in a kind of ‘what would you do and what’s going to happen’ type of way. Had no idea that Hemingway’s work “immediately before 1922 was lost by his first wife Hadley, who packed the pages in a briefcase and lost it on a train” -- now that makes the film even more intriguing. Great ending to this film as well, left with many questions to ponder.

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    • jennifer kiley

      Hemingway’s manuscript would have been a wild premise. The idea of stealing someone else’s work, diabolical. Would you fear most being found out or that you are presenting yourself as a fraud. The question fits all the intense questions for party games or just to ponder; “Would you save Hitler or the Maigret?” “If you found a bag of money, would you keep it or turn it in?” “Would you claim a magnificent book as your own if it appeared not to belong to anyone? Once claimed how would they prove it wasn’t yours?” All ethical questions, which if we are honest, what would we do?

      Fascinating film to the very end. I wonder if someone has Hemingway’s Manuscript and what have they done with it? Is it one of our masterpieces today? Films are fiction but so close to reality that they could slip across the line.

      Thank you garry for the comment. Good to see someone else who finds this film attention grabbing. The concept is damned Good.

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