Movie Review: The Words

Please go see The Words in your local cinema!

It’s such a refreshingly intelligent, well written drama. If nothing else, it’s worth the price of admission to encourage film making of actual substance. Not to mention to see the brilliant Jeremy Irons steal every scene he’s in.

The film should appeal to fans of Inception for its multi-layered plot, but it’s not science fiction or at all difficult to keep up with. And rather than a dream within a dream, The Words is a book within a book. Which this bookworm loved.

Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer who can’t get his own work published until he finds an old manuscript and passes it off as his own.

Jeremy Irons enters as the true author of that lost and found novel, which is then acted out in full (the book within a book) as he takes over narration. All of this was revealed in the movie’s previews, so hopefully I’m not spoiling anything here.

These stories are bookended and narrated by another author played by Dennis Quaid, whose own secret comes subtly to light in the climax of the film.

There’s some lost potential in what could’ve been a Hitchcockian tale of cat-and-mouse suspense between Irons’ and Cooper’s characters and the somewhat abrupt ending also leaves something (closure) to be desired. But in a time of increasing vapid, transitory action films and puerile, crass comedies, The Words stands out as a stimulating, heartfelt, elegant and truly unique film that’s very worthy of your attention.

DVD Review: Adam

Adam is an unconventional love story about two strangers falling in love and experiencing some unique complications in their relationship. Written and directed by Max Mayer, Adam stars Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, and Amy Irving.

Rose Byrne plays school teacher and aspiring writer Beth, who has just moved into a new apartment building. Beth soon finds herself drawn to an extremely intelligent, but socially awkward neighbor named Adam (Hugh Dancy).

Both characters are lonely in their own way, and are struggling with different father issues. Adam is mourning the recent death of his father, while Beth’s father is being charged with a white collar crime.

The main obstacle to this sweet romance comes when Adam explains the reason behind his seemingly odd behavior – he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

The movie often takes a pretty, simplistic approach to the disorder, but certain scenes contain subtle glimpses into Adam’s inner turmoil. The emotion on Hugh Dancy’s face is enough to convey the anguish and frustration born from Adam’s social limitations, and the anxiety and fear he suffers in the face of change. And the film doesn’t shy away from Adam’s ugly burst of anger or Rose’s insulting reaction during a simple disagreement.

The muted colors and intimate direction add to the poignancy of the film. It may lack the style of (500) Days of Summer, but it makes up for it in substance.

I don’t understand why Adam hasn’t receiveed more attention. It pulls the heart strings as much as Romeo & Juliet, Titanic, and Jerry Maguire without any cringe-inducing melodrama.

And like all classic love stories, the two lovers are separated by both their own misgivings and the condemnation of family. The ending isn’t quite what I would have liked, but it does fit with the rest of the story and allows the audience to draw their own conclusions.

Buy @ Amazon

DVD Review: Of Time And The City

Of Time And The City is a unique film directed by Terence Davies that impressed occasional Muruch writer Brendan (Vic’s Irish husband) so much that he was finally inspired to write another review…

Brendan says:

Terence Davies directs and narrates this eulogy to his hometown of Liverpool. It’s a deeply personal film with universal themes, a montage of music, images, and archival film footage, and snippets from literature and poetry.

Davies won me over within the first ten minutes by featuring Franz Lizst’s glorious “Consolation no. 3 in D Flat Major,” and quoting from James Joyce and Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” The passion the director holds for classical music and classic film is evident, as is his derision for the Catholic Church and Britain’s Royal Family, but this is a film about people.

There is something profound about the human moments captured here – the companionship of an elderly couple, the roar of the crowd at a football game, people washing windows and doorsteps, warming their hands at coal-burning stoves, wiping sleep from their eyes.

The music is also wonderful. For more about the film’s music, see the post at Caught by the River.

If I had to choose one film to represent the twentieth century for future generations, Of Time And The City would be it.

“And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

– T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

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Of Time And The City Official Site