I remember that I was really excited when I started seeing trailers for this movie, which was released in September of 2012. This was a movie whose main character was a writer. Naturally, my boyfriend and I had to see it when it came out in theaters last year.
Now, why did I randomly pick this one for this week? Because it was on TV last night, so we watched it again on ShowTime, which was great because there weren’t any commercials. Although, that did make doing laundry rather difficult. It’s hard not to fall under the spell that this characters cast in this movie. The director/writers, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, have created a beautifully complex story with a story within a story. One of the most amazing things about this story weaving is that it’s impossible not to become invested in all three of them and they’ve made it so easy to follow each of them. To me, that’s master storytelling.
The Words is about a man named Clay Hammond (played by Dennis Quaid) who has written a book called The Words. He is reading two large sections from his book, in which we meet a young man named Rory Jansen (played by Bradley Cooper) and the love of his life, Dora (played by Zoe Saldana). Rory is an aspiring novelist who has been living off of his dad’s (played by J.K. Simmons) generosity for a couple of years in order to make writing his profession. But, as he a Dora move in together, he comes to realize that he needs money in order to support the two of them. He gets a job with a publishing agency and, with their new funds, Rory and Dora get married and honeymoon in Paris. While there, Rory does some research for his novel and, while the two are shopping one day, they come across an old, leather briefcase that’s perfect for Rory to carry his manuscript and other writerly things with him. Little do they know that the contents of this briefcase will change their world.
When they return to America, Rory finishes his book and tries to get it published. All he receives is rejection and after rejection. The only positive response he gets is that his novel is beautiful, but can’t be published in the literary market. Rory is, understandably, crushed by the lack of success he has with the novel that he spent years creating and begins to doubt himself as a both a writer and a person. But, when he finally opens that leather briefcase from Paris to transfer his things from plastic portfolio he’s been using, he finds that it’s filled with the most wonderful words he’s ever read–the manuscript of another writer’s masterpiece. In a desperate attempt to connect with the words and this writer of long ago, Rory types up these words on his laptop and setting himself on a journey of deception. He submits the book as his own because of Dora’s encouragement, who thinks that it really is his own work. This book, “The Window Tears,” is wildly successful and Rory enters a world of literary fame. But, then we meet the actual author (played by Jeremy Irons) of the book Rory found in that briefcase from Paris, and he shares his story of war, love, and heartbreak–the very story contained in “The Window Tears.”
I adore this movie, and I highly recommend it. But I didn’t give it a full five rating because the end left me wanting. I have a love/hate relationship with stories that leave their reader/viewer’s brains grasping for answers that can’t be answered except by their own minds.