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The Words ***

This drama/thriller explores the effects of literary obsession on the personality and ethics of three writers in two stories within a story. The film opens with the famous writer Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) presenting and reading from his new book “The Words”. The story centers on Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), who wants to be a professional and great writer. Rory does not have much success until he discovers an old manuscript which he publishes as his own. Being now the writer of a generation and widely famous, he is approached by “The Old Man” (Jeremy Irons), who claims to be the original writer of the manuscript. It turns out, that the manuscript is an autobiographical account of the Old Man’s years in Paris as a young man (now Ben Barnes) with his wife Celia (Nora Arnezeder) shortly after World War II. The story concludes with the young aspiring writer Daniella (Olivia Wilde) not only wanting to know what became of Rory, but also where Hammond’s inspiration for him comes from.

Did you ever stop to think what this would do to us?” asks Rory’s wife Dora (Zoe Saldana) when she learns about the plagiarism. And the answer would be “no” for all three characters in the stories because they are all obsessed with literary fame. And so the characters learn that “the hard part is living with the choices you make”, as the Old Man nicely puts it.

This film had quite an interesting subject. However, I wasn’t totally captivated by the plot. Also, Bradley Cooper and Ben Barnes didn’t totally convince me playing their part. Besides, there might be a real life connection that adds another twist to the story: The German movie Lila Lila from 2009, an adaptation of the novel by Martin Suter, tells the story of an unsuccessful writer who comes to fame publishing an old manuscript he found. (Katia Trost)

  • The Words
  • USA 2012
  • Starts May 23 2013
  • Directed by: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
  • Writing credits: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
  • Cast: Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde
  • Length: 102 min.

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