The Words is a movie about a novelist struggling to become a published author and does so by plagiarizing another man’s book.
If I had to sum up this movie in one word, it would be this– confusing.
The movie is a story within a story… within a story. Weird, right? It starts with an author named Clay Hammond (played by Dennis Quaid) who is reading excerpts of his book in an auditorium. He is pursued by a woman (a fan? a student? a young writer? who knows) named Daniella (Olivia Wilde).
His book is what the movie is centered around. The main characters, Rory (Bradley Cooper) and Dora (Zoe Saldana) are in love. They are a couple who lives in New York City– Rory is a struggling author and Dora is the girl that sticks by his side and supports him.
Personally, I was confused that I was watching a story contained within a book. In the beginning, the reason for Clay reading this book wasn’t clear. As the movie progressed, I started to understand more of what was going on. What was happening in the book ended up being related to what was happening outside of it.
When Rory fails to write anything decent and comes across a ‘lost’ story in a briefcase, he copies it to feel the satisfaction of writing this great story. In the end, he claims this story as his own and becomes incredibly successful.
Because of his lie, Rory is forced to confront the price he has to pay for stealing another man’s work, and living a life of luxury. Hence the fitting tagline to the movie, “there’s more than one way to take a life”.
The movie is very engaging but can be incredibly confusing if you don’t pay close attention. Between parts of the main story, we are taken back to scenes of dialogue between Daniella and Clay. The man whose work Rory has stolen tells his own stories throughout the movie.
Only a select few of the characters are developed well, which makes it hard to become emotionally involved in the story. Rory and Dora’s relationship is meant to be the ‘main’ romance in the play, but it has no substance or history.
The Words brings up many issues about honesty and morality but, in the end, concludes nothing about them and leaves the audience hanging. It leaves the us with many “how” and “why” questions.
It’s the type of movie that you don’t want to leave to go to the bathroom in the middle of and might want to see twice to fully understand.
It basically asks this question- fiction, or life? You have to watch the movie and decide for yourself.