(Video on Demand, January 2013) I’m favourably pre-disposed toward films about writing and writers, but even with this added sympathy, there are many ways in which The Words doesn’t quite work as well as it could. The interweaving of stories in which a successful author tells us about a young writer hearing about another young author’s life is intriguing, but the conclusion seems to spring forward at about thirty second’s notice, with a scarcity of details at the upper level. The sudden appearance of the end “directed by” card is a disappointment, as so much of the story seems unfinished. More holes emerge the longer one thinks about the film. I also had a few problems with the putative protagonist of the film, ably played by Bradley Cooper: What kind of idiot calling himself a writer works exclusively for years on a single literary manuscript in New York City? Who is incurious enough not to investigate a literate manuscript from post-War France when so many great writers lived there at the time? Why even call yourself a “writer” when there’s so little hesitation in plagiarizing so thoroughly? Even allowing The Words those premises as given (and adding the improbability of a manuscript remaining undiscovered for decades) and appreciating the careful way in which the film is constructed doesn’t necessarily make the film a success considering its cast. Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde’s characters remain half-developed mysteries, unbalancing the film’s core of interest to its first fictional level. Despite the deliberate ambiguity at the very end of the film, The Words seems half-finished, a decent film petering out in a wet whisper of a conclusion. Despite wanting to like the film and everyone involved in it, it ends up being a bit of a dud. A well-made, respectable, often-likable dud, but a dud nonetheless.