A clever, entertaining yarn that doesn't bear close scrutiny.
Stephen Holden - New York Times
Writer/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal chose to make The Words as bland and obvious as its title, wringing out any subtlety or artistry.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
A well-acted but narratively limp indie that's undermined by a failure to connect emotionally with its audience.
Jen Chaney - Washington Post
I had planned to watch it, but there's nothing to see.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Witlessly titled and executed...
Melissa Anderson - Village Voice
While it's no chore to watch so many appealing actors, it does feel like something of a waste to see them hemmed in by such flat material.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Even with one story line and time frame too many, the movie conjures a mean Faustian bargain and leaves a classic dramatic question hanging in its air: What would you do if faced with similar circumstances?
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
The problem is with the three nested stories themselves, which...are treacly variations on what a not-too-inventive Nicholas Sparks enthusiast might imagine to be Hemingway-esque.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
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.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The premise is ambitious -- if not a little hokey -- but the meager themes of ephemeral authorship and constructed realities aren't exactly revelatory.
Drew Hunt - Chicago Reader
The Words resonates - richly, remarkably.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
It reinforces the misconception that great works arrive in a burst of creativity brought on by a tragic love affair, ideally in Paris.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
This is a film that's thoughtful and elegant, with just enough loose strings to keep things intriguing.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A lush but fumbling literary melodrama outfitted with an attractive, generations-spanning cast and a puzzle box of three competing narratives.
Barbara VanDenburgh - Arizona Republic
A literary film that stands to work best for those who don't read.
Rob Nelson - Variety
Bradley Cooper's funniest movie since "The Hangover" - unfortunately, unintentionally this time ...
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
What do we learn? That it's bad to steal the work and identify of other people. For this we need an oh-so-serious movie?
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Another actor might have made us feel something complicated for this troubled soul, but Cooper merely looks like the kind of guy who would steal another man's story.
Stephanie Zacharek - Film.com
This film's layered storytelling lacks the fluidity, grace, or good humour, to pull off its conceit.
Adam Litovitz - Globe and Mail
It would have been more fun if I'd brought something to throw at the screen.
Dana Stevens - Slate
For the most part, it's an adequate romantic drama orbiting an intriguing moral dilemma, but the decision to use a three-layered approach to tell the story makes little sense from a dramatic or narrative perspective.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
"The Words" leaves nothing to the imagination, smothering all these storylines in narration that spells out the actions we're seeing or emotions we could infer for ourselves.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
As good looking but shallow as its multiple leading men.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
It's a snooze.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
This tedious and needlessly convoluted drama ... just meanders aimlessly.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
A movie about a bad author who steals the book of a good author, and I'm pretty certain that The Words, if pressed, wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
It's nothing you haven't seen before in films about struggling artists spending more time obsessing than working.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Its long, dry patches of colourless storytelling suggest it makes more sense as a book, one to read before you fall asleep to dream of better movies.
Ken McIntyre - Total Film
In a relevant study of plagiarism, influences and lifetime experiences, The Words chiefly reminds us that the past is indelible.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Like a Russian nesting doll, this film tells a story within a story within another story, playing around with fact and fiction, as well as the nature of creative inspiration and integrity.
Rich Cline - Contactmusic.com
Nothing, absolutely nothing, makes 'The Words' interesting.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
The Words becomes one of the year's most irritating movies.
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Engrossing morality tale about lying, guilt and just how great a character actor Jeremy Irons has turned into.
Jim Schembri - 3AW
I like the idea but The Words is a little too preachy, too melodramatic for my liking.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
This isn't an Oscar-contending powerhouse drama; it's a film dedicated to expressing its message.
Liam Maguren - Flicks.co.nz
Melodrama built on a shallow, contrived literary device.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
Literary soapie The Words is mutton dressed as bespectacled lamb.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
A fable and a lesson, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable one, delivered with masterful performances and a great sense of storytelling tradition
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A wonderful screenplay in which three stories are skilfully interwoven to deliver a rich and satisfying film that questions integrity above all else
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Maybe it's the timing of the release, coming at the dead zone of post-summer and pre-fall cinematic fare..but 'The Words' has enough going for it to be recommended.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
A dreadful misfire, particularly for Cooper, who is otherwise pursuing an interesting career trajectory away from The Hangover series.
Ed Gibbs - The National
Despite an exposition-heavy outer layer, The Words delivers on 2/3 threads that it presents and offers a somewhat evocative meditation on truth.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
One of the meatiest movies of the year ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Things get confusing whenever Quaid appears as the audience is never sure if he is the real bogus author or if Cooper even exists.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
"The Words" seems to have jumbled the lines and created a melodrama that is a sore disappointment.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
One of those thoughtful films that arrives after a summer of sequels and superheroes.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
The Words is horrible, a smug, self-satisfied piece of over-plotted nonsense that is horribly written and decently acted. Stay far, far away.
Jonathan Lack - We Got This Covered
A flat, humorless and unconvincing melodrama about a literary fraud.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
An empty and cold drama that meanders aimlessly through a multitude of storylines.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
The look of the film, the intensity of the stories within stories, the musical score, and above all the nuanced acting by Cooper, Quaid and Jeremy Irons make this more than an ordinary film.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The story within a story, which is kind of within another story, but really about ALL of the stories isn't something that is worth your time.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
Employing the murky plot construction of a story within a story within a story, The Words is well acted, thoughtful and too clever by half.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
ambitious, but emotionally distanced cinematic appreciation of the mysterious nature of literary art
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
. . .is under the impression that it is making a profound artistic statement about the creative impulse. It's not.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
The only thing worse than a movie without an ending, is a ninety-minute endurance test without an ending.
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
Sometimes you're flabbergasted when very good actors are in very bad films. But no-one sets out to make a bad movie. They just turn out that way. But, seriously, there's no way that the script of The Words could have appeared good to anyone, could it?
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
As a romantic drama, it's a tiresome dud.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Let's be honest, Cooper's at his best when playing a jagoff. He's like Bradley Whitford in that respect (maybe it's just the name "Bradley").
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
It's a noble attempt, but there's too much going on and the various story lines fail to come together.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Those willing to accept the movie on its own terms will almost certainly savor the opportunity to ponder the many engaging questions that it poses.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
A fairly straightforward yarn with bluntly articulated themes of Regret, Guilt, Misplaced Trust, and the Vagaries of Fate.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Frank Lovece - Newsday
The film is best when [Jeremy] Irons is on screen and his flash back story is told. The actor's weather worn face is a character unto itself.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
...a romantic tragedy about the life of being a writer, meaning that many reviewers may 'get' what is going on here the way non-writers may not.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Described as both a romantic drama and a thriller, the film doesn't quite live up to the billing -- despite a premise rife with promise and a star-studded cast.
Christine N. Ziemba - Paste Magazine
Continuously intriguing but ultimately only semi-satisfying. It has a lot going in its favor...(but) the payoff isn't as good or effective as it could and should have been. Still, I can recommend it to moviegoers hungry for thought-provoking fare.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
There are some random parallels between the stories and some sophomoric exchanges about truth and art, and then it does not end - it just stops.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Riveting, illuminating, and communicative...for about 45 minutes.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
The wraparound structure is not only unnecessary but downright confusing, leading the movie to an unsatisfying conclusion.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
It's all very beautiful to look at, but the glossy artifice robs the movie of any genuine emotional heft.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
What this film about plagiarism lacks is originality.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
We see a doctor pulling a blanket over the little corpse in the crib. We're struck by the shamelessness of this shot.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
It is cinematic Ambien, the kind of limp affair that mistakes overheated dialogue for character or action.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
It manages to be literary and populist at the same time, in its story about the price of dreams and what any of us might be willing to do for love, success or both.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
A mostly middling drama.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
There is a genuine, high-minded earnestness about the film that, unfortunately, falls well short of its goals.
Kirk Honeycutt - honeycuttshollywood.com
The Words gets a little too cute by half.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
The story-within-a-story-within-a-story is so slight and inconsequential, like the tiniest of a set of Russian nesting dolls, that we may be forgiven for letting our minds wander toward bedtime and tomorrow's errands.
Christopher Orr - The Atlantic
The Words thinks it can outsmart us...providing one of those "what if" endings that raises such questions. Without some idea of the possible answer, however, all we get is frustration.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Dennis Quaid reading from a book his character purportedly authored redefines "suspension of disbelief".
Erick Weber - NECN
The storytelling method is more compelling than the actual stories themselves, which meander toward a collective final plot twist that is foreshadowed well in advance.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Teen-friendly romance is thoughtful but falls short.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
It's Cooper who's the biggest casualty, forced to deaden his surefire spark to accommodate his dud of a character.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
When The Words focused on its core subject, I perked up. When it went off on lackluster tangents - which it does for more than half of its running time - I grew impatient.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
A crushingly mediocre drama that doesn't know a thing about literature and doesn't particularly pretend to.
Stephen Silver - EntertainmentTell
The story-within-a-story-within-a-story structure of 'The Words' is an interesting dodge, applying thick layers of shimmering artifice to cover up the movie's lack of depth.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
You wish it were better than it is, simply because nobody ever makes literary thrillers these days.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Multi-layered drama about a literary masterpiece and its dubious authorship is well-crafted but hardly as deep as it pretends to be.
Kevin Lally - Film Journal International
It becomes preoccupied with exploring its fiction vs. reality theme and connecting the dots of its many plot strands at the expense of character development.
Randy Myers - San Jose Mercury News
This tale of literary chicanery fails to entice its audience. If it were a book, it would be easy to put down.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
"The Words" tries to meticulously paint a picture with a broad brush, thus smearing the details and creating a different piece than perhaps intended.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
Though set in the literary world and among the suffering souls who populate it, The Words appears to be the work of people who have never actually read a book.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
Sometimes, less is more. "The Words" is one of those times.
While the idea of staging a story within a story within a story might sound like an intriguing narrative device, co-writers/directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal confuse complexity for cleverness.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
In the re-examination, we realize just how much of the material's potential is left unexplored -- how little substance there actually is here.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Like Rory's purloined novel, The Words is nothing but a big cheat.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
"The Words" is a decent, ambitious, unoriginal film about a decent, ambitious, unoriginal writer. Both aim for greatness. Both fall short.
Amy Biancolli - San Francisco Chronicle
Unfortunately, none of these characters feels worthy of our -- or the movie's -- attention.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The Words feels like a weaker Oprah Book Club selection that's been gussied up -- and edited to the bone -- for big-screen consumption.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Positively reeks of mediocrity.... Go read a good book instead.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Woody Allen took himself far less seriously covering this same idea in "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger."
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
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.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The inherent problem with a movie about writing is that watching someone write is not very interesting.
Cathy Jakicic - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A pleasant but overly complex variation on an idea Woody Allen toyed-with in his stumbling "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," this notion of counterfeit literary fame...
A nitwit story about a nitwit author who has written a nitwit novel about a nitwit author who has published a nitwit novel which, in fact, he has stolen wholecloth from another writer ...
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
The Words is a movie about writing and books made by people who apparently rarely read.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
The Words founders on a spurious dichotomy between love and art.
Ella Taylor - NPR
Falling in love with the page becomes a romance almost as tragic as one built on deception ... [with] the same result: loneliness that finds no secure future in living a lie.
Matt Pais - RedEye
The film folds narratives on top of narratives in a vain attempt to mask the fact that there's nothing to read between its graceless lines.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
There's considerable gap between the film's ambition, which is to be a high-minded literary feature a la Atonement or The Hours, and its actual level of execution.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
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.
A.A. Dowd - Time Out
A clever entertainment that segues from thriller to drama to romance without breaking a sweat or offering much depth.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
A movie for people who buy their novels at Starbucks, made by people who write their novels at Starbucks.
Ray Greene - Boxoffice Magazine
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.
Todd Gilchrist - The Playlist