“The Words” (Drama: 1 hour, 37 minutes)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Ben Barns, and Olivia Wilde
Directors: Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal
Rated: PG-13 (Profanity and sensuality)
Movie Review: “The Words” is just sweet enough to engage and just short enough to leave one wanting more. The story is about writer Clay Hammond (Quaid). A well-known writer, Hammond’s latest book is about a celebrated literary figure, Rory Jansen (Cooper). The fictional character Jansen plagiarized the novel “The Window Tears,” which was written by a young man (Barnes) during World War II about the struggles he and his wife Celia (Nora Arnezeder) shared. After much fame, gained from the success of “The Window Tears,” Jansen’s life is golden. Enter an old man (Irons), claiming to be the true author of “The Window Tears.”
If this film appears complicated, it is not. This is a plot within a plot within a plot. Layers of stories exist spanning three generations. Each is rewarding in its casual, poetic manner. The director-writers Klugman and Sternthal, in their directorial debut, weave an interesting story that leaves one wanting more.
Klugman and Sternthal tease their audience with sleight of hand, constantly engaging audiences to think beyond what is merely seen and heard. Their characters are romantic figures that charm. Even more, a sense of mystery is left when this film is finished that puts one at an energetic ease.
The cast is captivating. Quaid is mysterious, and Wilde plays an interested suitor, equally intriguing. Cooper charms as a misguided writer aiming for fame. Saldana is beautiful as Cooper’s love interest. They are a real-life couple, so the chemistry was easy. Barnes and Arnezeder are a worthy romance, but Irons steals the show as a cantankerous old man coming to grips with a present that may wreck his past. His scenes with Cooper are invigorating.
A certain symbolism exists here that makes this screenplay creative, although it is not as powerful as it could be. Still, a certain artistic conceptualization exists here that works as beautiful medium-weight mental floss.
Grade: B (It is not Scrabble, but it is worth playing.)
“The Cold Light of Day” (Action: 1 hour, 33 minutes)
Starring: Henry Cavill, Verónica Echegui, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, sexual content and strong language)