“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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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:
Brief Strong Language and Smoking