Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 30
  2. Negative: 9 out of 30
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Sep 7, 2012
    60
    The Words founders on a spurious dichotomy between love and art. Which is a pity, because the movie is smart and persuasive on the casually incremental way in which plagiarism becomes an option for people like Rory - and perhaps for anyone.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 6, 2012
    60
    A clever, entertaining yarn that doesn't bear close scrutiny.
  3. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Sep 5, 2012
    60
    A lush but fumbling literary melodrama outfitted with an attractive, generations-spanning cast and a puzzle box of three competing narratives.
  4. Reviewed by: Adam Litovitz
    Sep 7, 2012
    50
    The Words suggests that a story, whether true or not, can help get us through, if we believe it enough. Though this film can't quite pull it off, a good enough thief can get away with it.
  5. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Sep 6, 2012
    50
    In the end - and every story needs one - The Words is a decent, ambitious, unoriginal film about a decent, ambitious, unoriginal writer. Both aim for greatness. Both fall short.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 6, 2012
    50
    Ironically, the dialogue in The Words is its chief failing.
  7. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 6, 2012
    50
    The Words aspires to depths greater than the sex we never see these two have. There's nothing for the eye to do while the ear fills with the banalities of two streams of narration, one by Dennis Quaid, the other by Jeremy Irons, all of it built around a lie.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Sep 6, 2012
    50
    The fatal flaw of this screenwriting term paper is that Cooper's character is a boring jerk we're supposed to regard as a nice guy who made an honest mistake.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Sep 5, 2012
    50
    Watching the movie, I enjoyed the settings, the periods and the acting. I can't go so far as to say I cared about the story, particularly after it became clear that its structure was too clever by half.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Aug 22, 2012
    50
    The Words fails to surpass dramatically the bland lack of specificity in its title while still offering a solid roundup of performances from its talented ensemble cast.
  11. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Aug 22, 2012
    50
    A literary film that stands to work best for those who don't read, The Words is a slick, superficially clever compendium of stories about authors of uncertain talent and varying success.
  12. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 7, 2012
    40
    Unfolds like the slow-motion dismantling of the world's most boring matryoshka.
  13. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 6, 2012
    40
    Though Cooper deserves credit for pushing beyond his comfort zone, he's clearly miscast in a role better suited to a young unknown.
  14. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Sep 6, 2012
    40
    It's not atrocious, but it borders on it, thanks to Dennis Quaid's annoying narration and his even more irritating portrait of the self-loathing writer whose presence bookends the two main storylines.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Sep 6, 2012
    40
    For a tale of thieving, The Words plods along. Not that a literary heist is as exciting as a bank robbery, but there's a remarkable lack of tension in this story.
  16. Reviewed by: A. A. Dowd
    Sep 4, 2012
    40
    The connections among the film's various plot strands are painfully obvious; by the time a grizzled Jeremy Irons saunters in, ready to dole out a comeuppance, perceptive viewers will have mentally flipped to the last page.
  17. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Aug 22, 2012
    40
    The Words is a movie for people who buy their novels at Starbucks, made by people who write their novels at Starbucks.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 4 out of 22
  1. Sep 7, 2012
    5
  2. Sep 18, 2012
    10
    My wife and I saw the "The Words" today. There are no sex scenes, no fantastic chase scenes, no animation, no cutseu little kids. None ofMy wife and I saw the "The Words" today. There are no sex scenes, no fantastic chase scenes, no animation, no cutseu little kids. None of these...just a great story, with great dialog and characters so real they came out of the screen to share the popcorn. Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, and Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, and Zoe Saldana earned every dime they were paid for bringing these characters, and this story to life. Full Review »
  3. Jan 3, 2014
    10
    These people are out of their minds. This movie was hands down one of the best films to come in a long time, without use of special effects orThese people are out of their minds. This movie was hands down one of the best films to come in a long time, without use of special effects or fancy gimmicks...pure genius storywriting. As an avid reader and film watcher, I have to say anyone who didn't give this at least an 8 has the attention span of a 5 year old. Full Review »