The Words [Blu-Ray] Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal

The Words [Blu-Ray] Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal
5
In concept, often middling, serviceable and ultimately banal drama The Words has an abundance of intriguing thematic aspects. If given the opportunity to achieve creative dreams, only without working for it or having it reflect ourselves, do we take it? If we do, how grey does our moral division between black and white become, and how much of our identity becomes a mere act of performance? Furthermore, if, like struggling writer Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), we appropriate someone else's work as our own, does their life then become ours to emulate? Once Rory decides to publish the manuscript he finds in the vintage leather satchel his wife (Zoe Saldana) buys him, is he then destined, or forced to, experience the human suffering the author (Jeremy Irons) did? Moreover, if, as older, successful writer Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) points out in a mirroring storyline, the act of writing is a lie unto itself, stealing lives and borrowing ideas from the surrounding world, does that make the writer merely a shell or vessel of cultural need and expectation? But, unfortunately, all of these concepts, in addition to the socially ubiquitous fear of mediocrity — a possible metaphor for capitalistic versus communist values — are handled tenuously and with little insight. As Rory struggles with his decision to publish someone else's book under his name and Clay battles his inner dilemma of being a fake, we never get much of a sense of how their identities are conflicted or unravelled. There is a sense that the love Rory's wife expresses for him has to do more so with the words she reads than those he expresses to her, but it's all rather broad and devoid of intricacy and specificity. Similarly, the storyline is riddled with very broad notions of moral confusion, itself having a very rigid and simplistic idea of right and wrong that it projects onto its characters and a society that doesn't always practice what it collectively preaches. The Words is more of a passing diversion and interesting concept than a cohesive or successful film, which is a shame considering how excitedly the filmmakers — childhood friends of Bradley Cooper — discuss their project on the brief special features included with the Blu-Ray. (Alliance)