May 27, 2023

Finding the right words for ‘The Words’ proves to be difficult for moviegoers

It is not the simplest of movies. By no means is it the first choice for a night out with friends. Unless your friends enjoy reflecting on the weight your choices carry throughout the rest of your life.

“The Words” is a masked movie. The mask of a writer who steals another man’s story and claims it as his own. A man who writes a book about that man while trying to cover up his own life story, and a mask that leads the viewer to believe he has grasped the movie until the last seconds of the film.

The movie begins with soon-to-be-famous author, Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid), standing in front of an audience beginning to read his book, “The Words.” His narration soon fades into the voices of the characters in his book, Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) and Dora (Zoe Saldana).

On their way for Rory to accept another award, something appears to be eating away at the man behind one of the best-selling books at the time. A flashback to five years before that night introduces the young couple before Rory’s rise to fame. A struggling writer, Rory attempts to get his book published but his efforts prove futile. After being rejected once more by another publisher, Rory’s life takes the unexpected turn it was craving.

While rummaging through a briefcase he bought in Paris, he comes across a stack of papers neatly tucked into a folder and hidden within a pocket of the briefcase. The yellow-tinted pages reveal a story unlike anything Rory has read or, unfortunately, could ever write. It could be said this is Rory’s wake-up call.
Doubt fills his mind with whether he is a good enough writer. Frustration floods in when he realizes he will never be able to write something like the story he just read. His identity is lost when he looks at where he has come from and where he is going. This stack of yellow paper left him lost and insecure but too ashamed to admit it.

So Rory does what he thinks he must. He publishes the book and claims it as his own. The book is an instant success, and Rory rises to fame. Then comes the unexpected turn his life was not necessarily craving but desperately needed.

As Rory sat on a park bench, an old man (Jeremy Irons) sat on the bench next to him and began talking to him. The old man introduces a story about a man who stole another man’s story and claimed it as his own. At this, Rory tunes in to listen to the man’s story.

Faced with the truth, Rory has to make the decision whether or not he will continue living with the lie he has convinced so many to believe or do the thing he knows is right.

Every writer in this film had to make the choice of how important their work was compared to how important the people who inspired their work were. Hammond explains it as the separation between fiction and reality.

The two get close, but they never touch. One has to make a decision for which one he or she will live in. That is Hammond’s dilemma. Yes, he has achieved his status in society, but what did he have to lose to get there?

“The Words” is a invigorating film. The questions it raises about morality and living with the choices one makes is not commonly found in movies today. All too often, movies leave us as the audience questioning why we chose to see the film we just did even though it demoralized us.

“The Words” challenges us not only to distinguish between right and wrong but begs the question which one will we choose depending on how it will affect us. Surprisingly challenging, “The Word” is the thought-provoking movie the box office has been missing for too long.

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