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WORDS

SERVICE SPECIALS

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latest novel about “a young struggling writer struggling to make his voice heard.” How did this dullard get to be a famous novelist, with Olivia Wilde as his new wide-eyed groupie, no less? He tells us, after a fashion. Hammond narrates the second story, Rory’s romance with the fair Dora (Saldana). We see Rory’s years of struggle and his discovery of the novel he would ride to fame. And Hammond, giving away the whole novel in this one reading — apparently — tells of the day Rory meets “The Old Man,” the one person on Earth who recognized this book as his own, written more than half a century earlier, the one man who knows Rory is a fraud. Quaid has a nice gravitas but is saddled with a “book” that makes Hammond come off as a lousy storyteller. Cooper, earnest as ever, nicely underplays Rory’s frustrations but does little to suggest a guy supposedly wracked with guilt over a stolen limo lifestyle. As the Old Man, Jeremy Irons is the best natural storyteller in the cast, lending warmth to very generic narration of post-World War II romance and tragedy. Irons has the disarming twinkle of old age, but he can still turn on the steely glint of accusation and menace. No wonder Cooper looks in awe and ill at ease in their scenes together — the best scenes in the movie. If you were setting out to write the perfect fall film, you’d include much that’s in “The Words” — romance, romantic settings (New York and Paris), mystery, literary intrigue and longing. But for that “perfect” film, you’d have to heighten the emotions, make more of the characters and the relationships and find other ways for “temptation” and “retribution” to show themselves. And you’d probably trim a lot of words out of it.

THE GUIDE

THE GUIDE

The Guide 09-07-2012  

The Friday Guide 09-07

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