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

Potable water is becoming increasingly scarce. Water is life, but human misuse of water is causing big problems, according to the Secret of Water documentary.
Don't miss these opening movies of the week including Cinderella, starring Lily James, a live-action version of the classic fairytale.
Working man Darnell Lewis is stuck on the wrong side of the tracks in South Central L.A., living the opposite life to Mr. King who has money all around him.
High-action movies, starting with The Gunman, with Sean Penn, directed by Pierre Morel, plus the sci-fi Insurgent, with Shailene Woodley and Taylor Lautner in Tracers.
Sean Penn showcases his abilities in drama and action, as an assassin who leaves the scene of the crime only to return years later, expecting his girlfriend to be still waiting.
Besides covering the Obama administration, April's responsibilities include hosting 'The White House Report,' a syndicated show airing on about 300 radio stations around the country. The Morgan State grad still lives in her native Baltimore which is

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

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