User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 68
  2. Negative: 8 out of 68

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  1. Apr 15, 2014
    5
    The Words opens with a muddled plot and confusing flashbacks, but eventually by the middle it all gets sorted out. However, the movie just never seems to work out, even with a great performance by Jeremy Irons and an okay but decidedly unfulfilled performance from Cooper. The main failure is how the movie has a sense of false confidence and thinks it's more clever than it is. Ironic to the story and hypocritical to its message, The Words feels like elements in its story are plagiarized from so many previous movies. Expand
  2. 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 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.
  3. Jan 1, 2014
    10
    OMFG Critics give 37% to this film Just 3 good critics ...
    They have in the eyes or what !
    This is a very good film, with a good story, good casting !
    Need more of that ?
    The actor is sexy for girls, Olivia Wilde is very lovely with more weight and all actors play well ...
    And critics give 37% 1/3 and this guys have been pay for this ...
    The world turns upside down
  4. Sep 2, 2013
    7
    Panned by critics, I didn't hold out much hope for The Words, a three generation story filled with nuanced characters and some truly great dialogue that brings out a wonderfully creative story that may make you cringe from time to time but mainly it will make you ponder how moral you really think you are. When an acclaimed author Clay (Dennis Quaid) is introduced to Daniella (Olivia Wilde), a young woman who wants to hear his latest story about a down on his luck writer Rory Bradley Cooper) who steals an old man (Jeremy Irons) story and must deal with the consequences, Daniella and Clay must decide what lives they want to live and who they want to be moving forward. An in depth look into love and obsession but most of all the power of admiration and the lengths we will take to give and receive it. The Words is understandably obsessed with paying tribute to the power of the written word and the great words that come from writers with something to say and maybe that's why the script by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal is so good as every story has a personality while they play into each other. The performances are mostly great except for the constantly awful Zoe Saldana as Rory's irritating partner. The standouts are Quiad and Irons as two haunted men, one wrapped up in his own guilt and success, the other mourning the life he once had and failed to find again. It's a complex story that is filled with emotion, some overplayed but most of it hitting the mark making for a wonderful, if not a little upsetting movie that really gets to the centre of peoples wants and desires as it tells us its alright to dream of becoming more. Expand
  5. Jul 9, 2013
    8
    The Words is a story of three authors which one wrote a story of another. It is a smart and interesting plot with a combination of great actors. Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper gave a great performance to that film. It had a great atmosphere and what was happening on the film was overall interesting. I didn't get bored and watching The Words will make you feel sad, happy and proud in a strange way that you will enjoy that film. I can't understand the bad reviews again. This film was a quality drama with a qualified and skillful cast. Thumbs up! Expand
  6. Jun 9, 2013
    3
    Tedious and melodramatic with an unnecessary multilayered storyline and ambiguous ending that thinks its more clever than it really is. -MN
  7. May 6, 2013
    9
    It was an intelligent movie that only someone like Brad Cooper could put off as lead role. Such a relief from the mindless hollywood dumb-you-down movies that kept me in suspense. I didn't want the movie to end. We need more movies like these.....
  8. Jan 1, 2013
    1
    This is one of the worst films I have ever seen. I had to watch it to the end to see how bad it would be and it really was terrible. Not one of the portrayals rang true. Every major player looked like they were out for an easy payday. The post war locales in France were laughable. The storyline was totally unbelievable. All of the players have done some fine work in the past, but this really stinks. Expand
  9. Dec 19, 2012
    8
    Clayton Hammond (Dennis Quaid), a famous author, attends a public reading of his new book, The Words, centered on Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), an aspiring writer who lives in New York City with his girlfriend, Dora (Zoe Saldana). With the help of his father (J. K. Simmons), Rory gets a job as a mail supervisor in a literary agency and attempts to sell his first novel, which is repeatedly rejected by publishers.

    After living together for some time, Rory and Dora marry and, during their honeymoon in Paris, Dora presents Rory with a gift, an old briefcase from an antiques store. Returning to America, Rory finds an old but masterfully written manuscript in the briefcase with a central character named Jack. Rory types the manuscript into his laptop. Later, while using the laptop, Dora happens upon the novel and reads it. Assuming her husband wrote it, Dora encourages him to meet with a publisher, Joseph Cutler (
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  10. Oct 7, 2012
    3
    Interesting premise: unpublished writer steals someone's novel, passes it off as his own, and gets away with it until the original author shows up. But giving this to us as a story within a story within a story makes for at least one story too many. Plus, there are elements in the film that simply defy credibility. The original author dashed off the novel in two weeks and the book made it into print without a rewrite? I don't think so. I also find it hard to believe that an author would spend what seems like two hours reading from his book to an audience without taking questions afterwards. Expand
  11. Sep 20, 2012
    3
    This is a film with high pretensions and almost no content. It brings up issues of honesty, plagiarism, moral responsibility and finally has nothing to say about them. It's all gift wrapping and no content. The actors are all fine (Zoe Saldana is irresistible), but they are working in a vacuum. The ending, like that of Arbitrage, is annoyingly inconclusive, but so is everything else.
  12. 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 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. Expand
  13. Sep 17, 2012
    6
    The marketing machinery behind this film would have you believe this is some kind of romantic film. And they are right as far as the "some kind" is concerned. However this is much more than the simple premise of love amongst people.
    The Words turns out to be more of a psychological exploration in the exercise of denial and solitude. Although the pieces are hard to put together before the
    very last sixty seconds of the film.
    For all of you who would be paying close attention to well laid out visuals, there is a particularly relevant scene about thirty minutes into the movie. It is more of a flash. The first time our hero is laying in bed and can't get the newfound story out of his mind. That first dream, or possibly even nightmare. It begins with him hugging his wife from behind by the stove. And in a flash we see both him and her in that same French time period as if they were the characters of the story from the past. In fact, portraying the same hug...
    For some reason, those few frames stayed with me until the end of the film, and it served me well, since they become particularly relevant when Dennis Quaid finally reveals to Olivia Wilde what has really been going on all along.
    I enjoyed the intricacy of this romantic puzzle very much, and I had planned to lay it out for you in these words. But I'd rather you watch it on your own and enjoy it as I did. All I'll say is this:
    Don't assume this movie is what it seems. It's purposely disguised as a simple romantic premise. Pay attention to detail. Specially the similarities between the couple's New York apartment and the French apartment. And the parallel in events from past to present as certain elements are revealed amongst both couples. It's not a coincidence.
    Expand
  14. Sep 16, 2012
    6
    A weak 6 not a strong one. It has the worst ending in Hollywood history! You are sitting there mildly enjoying this movie and then barf! The movie just stops. This movie has one redeeming quality that maintains my attention and makes this movie worth watching. That is the Dennis Quaid factor. That man is the worst actor I have ever seen! I just love watching his movies just like I like watching train wrecks. I have seen that man march across frozen tundra, get punched by schizophrenic aliens, even get eaten by Jaws. I can surely watch him do what he does best... stand up in front of a podium like a stiff board and read from a teleprompter. Expand
  15. Sep 11, 2012
    6
    The romaticization of the struggling author is perhaps the most captivating aspect of The Words. Although there is a deeper, psychological facet that the film seems to try to convey, the most intriguing part is the process in which Rory Jansen
  16. Sep 11, 2012
    6
    "The Words" is by no means a great film, but it is not a dreadful film either. It tells the story of a struggling writer (Bradley Cooper), who is faced with the choice to pass off another writer's novel as his own. Because so much of the story rests on the writer's thoughts and not on his external actions, the material does not lend itself well to a visual medium like film. Also in a day and age where publishing is dominated by nonfiction, novelizations of movies and genre fiction, it's hard to image someone risking so much in the pursuit of wealth and fame as a novelist of literary fiction. Rather than pass a novel as his own, more likely someone would use a novel as the basis for a screenplay, where it could be potentially sold for a substantial amount of money. With rare exceptions, the goal from the sale of literary fiction would more realistically lead to a professorship at a prestigious university.

    However, given the limitations of the story, the filmmakers do their best to make it visual and to subvert expectations. In other words, the story doesn't always go into an obvious direction, but without going into specifics, it doesn't always follow a logical path.

    For those yearning for something a bit smarter than the average mass market pictures, "The Words" is worth consideration. The cast including Cooper do a good job given the limitations of the material. Zoe Saldana is totally underutilized in the film. She is relegated to the "supportive wife" role where most of her scenes involve her either flirting or encouraging her beau in some way.
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  17. Sep 9, 2012
    8
    A very greatly performed movie. Saldana acts on this one with finese and spectacle, yet the sudden and quickly short boredom the movie brings in the middle is not to be ignored, it costed it two less points. But apart from that, it's pretty cool.
  18. Sep 8, 2012
    7
    Definitely deserves a positive review. Is this movie a blockbuster or meant for all audiences? No. Is it an artistic portrayal of a writer's life and a drama about deceit and choices and consequences? Absolutely. I would not recommend this movie to the everyday viewer, but I do recommend for those who like it when the art of storytelling meshes with film-making. The movie will also stay in your mind for quite a while after viewing it and I would recommend the movie for movie groups and those who discuss movies afterwards. Collapse
Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 30
  2. Negative: 9 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Sep 9, 2012
    30
    Hoariest of all are the exhortations to make distinctions between "fiction" and "life."
  2. 30
    The movie, written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, is desultory when it's not inept, but the set-up is so good that you can't help sticking it out to the (unforgivable) end.
  3. Reviewed by: Adam Markovitz
    Sep 8, 2012
    33
    Cooper, who looks appealingly wolfish in his expensively tailored suits, plays the whole thing with a dutiful, earnest expression lacquered on his face, his eyes misting on cue at the exact same moments yours will be rolling into the back of your head.