At 9:30 this morning, I drove in from a long and yet wonderful weekend in Decatur, Georgia for the Decatur Book Festival and was ready to just lay down on my couch and possibly sleep. Yet, knowing me, once I am awake, it is hard for me to go back to sleep unless I am just dog tired. So, I dropped all of my belongings on the floor in my living room and put in the movie The Words.
When I say Damn, I mean that in a good way. This quiet yet wonderful movie is great to watch alone or with friends who are writers, for this is definitely a writer's movie. The story is simple and very powerful: a young man who wants to be a writer finds an old manuscript in a piece of luggage and decides to make the manuscript his work. However, a past comes to haunt him, opening his eyes to an ethical dilemma he never thought possible.
The stellar cast, composed of Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid and others turn this simple story into one that can be watched over and over again while discovering something new with every viewing.
As a novelist who has been published several times, I found Cooper's performance as Rory Jansen, the struggling yet determined writer, to be quite familiar with my life: writers have stories in their head that they need to tell to the world. We spend weeks, months, even years on a manuscript and we consider it to be our "baby", our pride and joy. Yet, once we send it out to the publishing world, we become nervous, unsure and almost angry that the world doesn't jump to praise our work as fast we want them to. The look on Rory's face when a literary agent tells him that while his work is well done, it isn't marketable, is a look I have had before when I received my slew of rejection letters on short stories I have submitted for various journals and publishing companies. Yet, when we get that one acceptance from a publisher, the one YES out of so many NOs, we the writers feel that our time was well spent, that it it was worth the sacrifice. When Rory's world turned upside down when his latest "manuscript" was accepted, I understood all too well and shared in his moment of happiness that was plagued with a secret that needed to stay hidden. Suddenly, he was no longer a struggling writer; now, he was the best of the best through the eyes of someone else.
As a side note, I also enjoyed this film because Rory's relationship with his girlfriend then later wife Dora reminded me of my relationship with my boyfriend D. Alan Lewis - we are both published writers, our relationship is interracial, and his eyes are just (if not more!) as blue as Rory's:
(This is the photo I would love to see on the back of one of his novels)
Two Berets UP!