Daily News header

The Words Film Review

By     get stories by email

Plagiarism Exacts Emotional Toll in Tale of Overwhelming Regret

The latest stop on Clayton Hammond's (Dennis Quaid) whirlwind book tour has the renowned author in New York City to promote his latest opus. It's a cautionary tale of overwhelming regret recounting the rise and fall of a presumably fictional character called Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper).

At the story's point of departure, he's an aspiring novelist under pressure to find a day job after years of relying on handouts from his father (J.K. Simmons). The young man grudgingly capitulates by taking a lowly 9 to 5 gig in the mailroom of a leading literary agency.

words
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The steady pay does enable Rory to save enough money to propose to his longtime girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) who has been patiently waiting to start a family. Soon enough, they're newlyweds and honeymooning in Paris where the grateful bride impulsively buys her hubby a weather-beaten briefcase lying around a dusty antique shop.

Upon returning to the States, Rory opens the valise and discovers that it isn't empty but contains a yellowed, handwritten manuscript by someone far more talented than he. However, instead of trying to locate the owner, he succumbs to the temptation to submit the novel to publishers under his own name.

And lo and behold, the book, "The Window Tears," becomes a runaway best-seller, thereby belatedly launching the literary career he'd always dreamed of. But because of the possibility of the real author's (Jeremy Irons) stepping forward to expose the fraud, Rory faces the prospect of having to spend his life looking over his shoulder.

Co-written and co-directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, The Words is constructed as a series of flashbacks narrated by a visibly-haunted Hammond as he reads excerpts from his new book. It gradually becomes obvious that he is emotionally agonizing over the material on the pages as the tension mounts around whether what his audience is hearing might be autobiographical rather than fictional.

Unfortunately, the problems with this glacial-paced production are plentiful. First, it's hard to swallow the film's farfetched premise, and harder still to fathom how its protagonist has managed to maintain the charade for so long, especially given his guilty conscience and being confronted by the aggrieved party he's impersonated.

Secondly, neither of the parallel plotlines is particularly engaging, the only issue of interest being whether Hammond's new book constitutes a confession that his debut novel had been purloined. For this reason, the film's biggest flaw rests in its ultimately ending on a cliffhanger, and thereby failing to resolve if Rory Jansen is indeed a thinly-veiled version of the author.

That anticlimactic conclusion proves to be quite unsatisfying after an investment of what feels like an eternity awaiting the resolution of the specific question "Did he or didn't he?" The only thing worse than a movie without an ending, is a ninety-minute endurance test without an ending.

Fair (1 star)

Rated PG-13 for smoking, sensuality and brief profanity.

Running time: 96 minutes

Distributor: CBS Films

Trailer for The Words:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Before the month of October ends, here are the must-see movies to give viewers thrills and chills on the Halloween weekends.
Kam Williams interviews Haley Joel Osment, who played Cole, in The Sixth Sense, as the boy with the iconic line, I see dead people. Now in Sex Ed.
Seemingly a satire in some ways, of Keaton's ambivalent transformation into Tim Burton's Batman a quarter of a century ago, Birdman appears to be Keaton's venture into unprecedented extreme acting.
For movie fanatics and couch potatoes, are you ready to relax and indulge in a stress-free weekend? Well, here are top 10 DVD releases for the week!
It's a movie marathon, and here are some must-see movies to shoo away the boredom and be on trend on what's new and hot flicks for this month!
Directed by Michael Hoffman, The Best of Me is loosely based on the Nicholas Sparks best seller of the same name published in 2011.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site