Movie Review: The Words

September 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not likely to be a long-running hit, The Words will no doubt attract writers who, being critics at heart, can have fun finding fault with certain elements of the story.


The film tells the story of a writer who is reading to an audience from a novel he wrote about a struggling novelist. After his stories fail to find a publisher, the novelist finds a manuscript in an old briefcase and makes it his own. It wins him awards and acclaim, but the original author shows up, and …Well, you’ll have to go see it to find out.

Now for a few discrepancies:

1) There is a scene with the novelist being told by an editor or agent (it wasn’t clear which) that his submission is too literary to be published. So he is about to give up when he discovers the manuscript. I suspect a real agent/editor would say ‘we can’t publish it, try elsewhere.’

2) The novelist finds the +/- 200-page manuscript in the middle of the night. After reading it, he decides to type it into his computer, which he accomplishes perfectly by morning. 50 pages an hour? No way, Jose.

3) The manuscript was written by a young man whose wife loses it on a train. (When you see the movie, look for all the Hemingway references!) What is unrealistic is that this first writing effort is so good that 60 years later it’s an award-winner.

4) No one questions how the novelist could describe post-WW II Paris so eloquently after spending one week there 60 years after the war.

5) The author of the story is doing a two-part reading. He reads 1/3 of his book, then a second third, then tells the audience to buy the book. Good format for the movie, but not realistic.

The good news. There are no vampires, orcs or sprites in The Words.

Women writers will probably come out of the movie saying now why didn’t they make a movie about a woman who wrote a novel about a woman who discovered a manuscript written by a woman. Why indeed?


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