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Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid and Zoe Saldana star in this romantic drama following three interconnected storylines told through an author's attempt to overcome his regrets. Popular writer Clayton Hammond (Quaid) gives a reading of his new novel 'The Words', which tells the story of struggling author Rory Jansen (Cooper) and his wife Dora (Saldana). After his first book is rejected, Rory decides to pass off a manuscript by an anonymous writer, inadvertantly given to him by Dora, as his own. The book is a success but Rory later meets the man who wrote it (Jeremy Irons). Rory decides to come clean about the origin of the novel, aware that the consequences could be damaging to both his professional and personal life. After the reading, Clayton is interviewed by student Daniella (Olivia Wilde), who discovers how the author's own mistakes are linked to his novel.
For more about The Words and the The Words Blu-ray release, see the The Words Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Ben Barnes
Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
» See full cast & crew
The Words Blu-ray Review
Plagiarism has its privileges...if you don't get caught.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 19, 2012
It was just supposed to be a little book.
In the beginning, he created the story and the potential. And it was good. Later, someone else stole it. That was good, too. At least for a time. Writers/Directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal's The Words tells a simple and oftentimes absorbing tale of one man's journey through ill-gotten success in the literary world and the consequences of his theft of another's left-behind intellectual property -- and deeply-held emotions -- for his own benefit. It's a very well-made and highly respectable film, one of fine craftsmanship, an engaging tale, and splendid acting. It's much of what a good Drama need be, building characters and exploring ideas and pulling the audience in not through an excess of violence or shock but through honest storytelling, a relatable plot, and a convincing narrative with themes of gain and loss well beyond the superficial world of monetary success. Unfortunately, the film leaves much of its core buried and underdeveloped; yet the potential and the quality of what's here makes this that rare instance of a film overcoming its missteps on sheer interest of plot. Still, it's easy to see after a watch that The Words could have said so much more.
Call him Rory (Bradley Cooper). He's a struggling author whose work is praised but rejected by publishers who don't seen an avenue of success for his material in the current literary environment. He finds work as a delivery man for a publishing house and, during that time, makes the discovery of a lifetime: a long-lost manuscript that absorbs him from page one. He reads it quickly. It becomes his obsession, and he succumbs to the temptation to copy it -- word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark, misspelling for misspelling -- and claim it as his own. Rory's wife Dora (Zoe Saldana), unaware that the words are not his, praises his work and encourages him to seek publication. His boss at the literary agency, Mr. Cutler (Željko Ivanek), falls in love with the novel and backs its publication. The book becomes an instant critical and commercial success. Rory ascends to the top of the literary world but faces the harsh realities of plagiarism when he's confronted by an old man (Jeremy Irons) with inside knowledge as to the novel's original whereabouts.
"I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story," Edith Wharton once wrote. That's not the case here, though. This is the story taken verbatim, from one source, penned by the hand but dictated by the soul. The Words is the story of a story stolen and retold and, well, there's a whole lot of interconnectedness and "what!" going on throughout the film, but usually without the excitement of exclamation. Instead, The Words enjoys a rather straightforward and very simple narrative of one man's ambitions, luck, plagiarism, and regrets. It shares his successes, examines him in failure, and lights the world of internal and external consequences that appear around him. It studies the price of phony success on an emotional level but also the power of storytelling as it comes from deep within, from real, tangible, terrible life experiences rather than from soulless make-believe. In The Words, Rory's own works are said to be "artistic" and "subtle" but it's not until he presents a manuscript with real emotional depth and relatable characters -- not of his own creation -- does the world take notice of "his" work. The Words never quite settles in on a theme, however. It flows well but sometimes feels a bit scattered, as if it knows it possesses a great tale but cannot quite figure out how to tell it. It explores much but unearths little, though it manages enough positive energy, interest, and great acting to make it well worth a watch, anyway.
So for those literary fans out there who also enjoy a good story told at 24 frames per second, enjoying most everything about The Words should be perfectly normal, thank you very much. However, it's the sort of story that might have worked much better on the page rather than the screen. As interesting, engaging, new, and captivating as it may be, the story feels somewhat cramped on film, sufficiently told but not particularly well explored. The story begs for more development, for greater character insight beyond the superficial, even for some choice passages from what is purported to be a can't-miss novel in the classic style, reminding, perhaps, of Hemingway or Tolstoy, not another Thriller in the Tom Clancy or Stephen King style of page-turning literature. The Words, even in its extended cut, never finds a very deep meaning beyond its interesting premise. It's adequately executed and a pleasure to absorb, but it won't leave its audience contemplating any of the deeper themes that exist unexamined below the surface. Still, the movie is very well acted and features a balanced all-star cast spanning a few generations of talent that converge -- whether on screen or in spirit -- for a fully coherent tale of greatness born of tragedy, greatness born of deceit, and greatness born of the creative mind.
The Words Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Words looks gorgeous on Blu-ray. Sony's got another winner, this one a very natural, film-like 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. To be sure, the movie can go a little dark at times and flesh tones can veer ever-so-slightly to the warmer end of the spectrum, but otherwise this one's first-class all the way. Details are naturally sharp and very clear across the entire frame, revealing tremendous facial textures: intricate pores, nuanced lines, each strand of facial hair. Likewise, articles of clothing are fully revealed down to the last little stitch as seen in appropriately up-close shots. Colors are wonderful, whether park greens or multicolored flowers in a greenhouse, the image offers beautiful hues that appear often striking even under the lower brightness that's often prevalent throughout. Blacks are rock-solid, too, yielding a natural, consistent level of detail in lower-light conditions. Light grain remains, and spikes a bit in the slightly grittier, almost dreamlike flashbacks to the post-war era. Overall, a brilliant transfer from Sony.
The Words Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Words delivers a subtle and nuanced but effective and technically sound DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track delivers light music with evident high-end clarity and natural spacing. Modest sound effects define various scenes; whether moderate applause to open the film or pleasing ambiance as heard during an extended dialogue scene between two characters in a park, Sony's track delivers all the necessary ingredients with attention to balance, volume, placement, and immersion. A rather heavy boom of thunder later in the film is felt as much as it is heard; it's a very natural and highly satisfying little sound effect that uses the low end to absolute perfection. Otherwise, this track is made primarily of dialogue elements. Light reverberation is heard during Dennis Quaid's speaking engagements, and standard dialogue plays clearly and evenly through the center. Though not a dynamic track, this one is commendable for its balance and authenticity.
The Words Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Words contains four featurettes (three of them very brief), previews, and a UV digital copy voucher. Also included is the film's theatrical (1:37:09) and extended (1:42:41) cuts.
The Words Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Words promises a far, far better tale than the movie delivers. It's a very well-made picture centered on a captivating story of hurt and betrayal and the good and the bad that comes from life's experiences, chance, honesty, and deception. Unfortunately, the movie never quite digs deep enough to more fully explore the character intricacies, the emotional hazards that shape the various dramas, or the lie that ignites the story. It's all very superficial, but The Words does the superficial as well as can be done. It's a very good movie, not quite where it should be, but worth a watch nonetheless. Sony's Blu-ray release of The Words features exceptional video, fine audio, and a few very brief and artificial extras. Definitely worth a rental and perhaps a purchase when the price drops to a bargain level.
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The Words Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Words Blu-ray - November 5, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal's The Words (2012), starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons, and Zoe Saldana. The release will be available ...
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