Movie review: The Words

So far in the movie industry, we have seen movies made about dance mobs, figure skaters, hockey players, football players (the list of sport teams goes on), pianists, magicians, even hobby-less people… I was delighted to see a new one come out about a writer: The Words, by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal.

I was amazed at how inspiring this movie was- I walked out of the theatre with a crazy urge to go dig through antique shops and buy a typewriter and click away at it all night. The pacing of the plot, the narration, mood, setting and use of soundtrack music; it all pulled you in and soaked you up. I don’t think I was this impressed with a movie’s directing and narration since I saw The Illusionist. 

My biggest surprise was that the movie was not quite what the trailer suggested;  it was about a book that was about what the trailer suggested. Granted, 90% of the movie was dedicated to this book’s plot-line (within which there was also a book with a sub-story, pulling you even deeper into the plot), but there would be the occasional and perfectly timed withdrawal to the “real world” in which the fictional story teller is reading the tale. I thought this push-and-pull aspect, much like the various levels of dreams we saw in Inception, was marvellously done and subtly enchanting. It can be quite challenging to arrange such a complex and multi-stranded plot- so that the audience does not get confused, or you don’t jump too many levels at once and disrupt the story’s fictional dream- but The Words pulled it off perfectly. It was able to give the audience more insight with discrete insertion of thought-provoking dialogue and details at each depth. 

As far as the acting of this movie goes, it was pretty impressive. Every emotion seemed authentic, the characters displayed great feeling that made them believable and played the role they needed to in order to move the audience. The old man, played by Jeremy Irons, was an especially great character in my opinion, and also the principal reason why the whole movie can make a person ponder on how these things happen in real life and what the implications would be.

The only set-back I can see regarding this movie might be the occasionally slow pace. Others that watched this movie told me that they were compelled to check the time during a few instances, suggesting that the plot was boring them. I do agree that it’s rather slow – but the alternative, it being rushed, would be much worse. In my opinion, even if the pacing is slow, it is near optimal, because it adds to the thoughtfulness of the story. It allows the audience to go through the emotions that the characters portray, and it allows the meaning of everything to sink in. If the subject (writing) and style of the movie is appealing enough to the audience, then they will still be entranced. 

If this movie was a book, it would be just as mellifluously written as the novel that the protagonist, Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), pretends is his. The ending is a bit of an ambiguous one, but this movie is a drama meant to transmit emotion and meaning, not a comedy just seeking to provoke laughter and entertain. I think the key objective of this film is to make people wonder about what such circumstances as the ones that are in it would cause. But, of course, each person has their own favourite part.

Joint movie review: The Lorax and Brave

Amongst the thrilling science fiction movies, primarily The Hunger Games and The Amazing Spiderman, playing on the screens this summer, were two cheerful animations; The Lorax and Brave. With the rush to go see the other two incredibly hyped action films, these two colorful Universal Pictures and Walt Disney films, respectively, were almost forgotten. However, their popularity was still high enough on the ladder for me and a couple friends to go see it. The Lorax worked as a cute story somewhat following the storyline that Dr. Seuss wrote, but Brave had more mixed reviews. Nevertheless, both left me feeling a little surprised but not disappointed.

The Lorax doesn’t include much to satisfy the action/adventure fanatics, unless you count the main character Ted’s tedious motorcycle-driving maneuvers. The story is perky, disputably loyal to the original book version, interesting, funny, and capturing. It doesn’t lack anything for the people who enjoy this type of movie – laid back, light humor, and a vibrant “fairytale”-like story with a subtle moral.

That being said, the “cutesy” animation style of this film causes a considerable loss of the original story’s moral, that is: the environmental damage that follows poor decisions and forethought. My praise for this movie was said regarding the entertainment value, especially for kids, however, I’m a little doubtful if this is the best story to present in such a style. The romance and childlike comedy that was added to the narration certainly did provoke laughs, but at the same time it removed most of the deep significance that was supposed to accompany the tale.

Brave gives me a harder time searching for words to express my thoughts on it. One online review called it “A disappointment worth seeing” – I’m not sure if I would use quite those words to describe it, but I agree that it was overall an entertaining watch however not without a few frown-provoking details.

The whole style of the storytelling and tools it uses seems to be targeted to children; the lively narrative tone, the wide palate of quirky and emphatically expressed characters (particularly in the different suitors and leaders from the clans), the presentation tools of the plot – it appears to be made to be as interesting and captivating as possible, specifically to capture a young child’s attention.

Yet, fights break out numerous times over the movie and there is an act of violence, big or small, in practically every scene, and the movie makes it seem like the violence isn’t even a big deal. I heard many small children in the theatre whimpering in fear more than once at the brawling. I understand that this is a part of the barbaric background and setting of the story, but I don’t like how the movie is essentially sending out the message that such violence is normal, a part of everyday life, and totally okay.

Another thing is the immaturity of some moments in the movie; boogers, mooning, and armpit hair pulling are just a few examples. Is this how the media wants to raise kids to be? The message they send out with these movies gets repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and becomes a habit for real people.

But if you can look past those downsides, then the plot line is well paced, twists and challenges occur at comfortable intervals, the storytelling is captivating enough, frequent jokes provide comic relief without derailing the chain of events, and many storytelling devices are used to keep the movie interesting- not to forget the realistic presentation of the characters and the ever present scottish music and culture. The only thing I found wrong in the storyline were the plot holes; for example, how naive Merida was when visiting the witch. Oh yeah, just take the flask and let a loved one drink it without even bothering to wonder what’s in it. That’ll solve all your problems! Why does she even ask for that kind of potion in the first place? It doesn’t seem neither logical nor well thought out. The father’s ignorance when Merida is trying to stop him from going out with his huntsmen near the end is more believable, as he is of course filled with rage and desperation. But this wasn’t expressed as distinctly as it could have for optimal audience sentiment … like I said, the movie was made for a younger, less critical audience who is just looking for a fun movie to entertain.

Nonetheless, the approximate 1.5 hours spent at the theatre for each movie was not regretted. I do recommend watching these movies, perhaps as an uplifting weekend study break or just as a fun night out with friends.