This weekend, I saw the movie “The Words,” with Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, and several other big names. It was a wonderful movie–beautifully filmed, well-acted, interesting, and very emotionally engaging. I would definitely recommend it to anyone–that is, anyone who is not an aspiring writer. Of all the movies I have ever seen, nothing has hit quite so painfully close to home before this movie. Without telling you anything you can’t read on IMDB.com, the film mainly concerns Bradley Cooper’s character, a struggling writer who just can’t catch a break. His inability to be published tears him apart from the inside and there is this one scene, near the beginning of the film, where he walks out of a dinner with his wife and another couple. The other couple is trying to convince Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana to go on a yacht trip to the Caymans (or something). Bradley storms out and when Zoe follows, he completely loses it. He says something along the lines of “I don’t know how people do it. I don’t understand how they got where they are, how you got where you are. I don’t understand how people know what they’re doing. I’m not who I thought I would be, I’m not who I want to be.” Maybe Bradley is just that brilliant of an actor or maybe the script was just that well written, but if you want to see the picture of someone whose passion is completely tearing them into pieces from the inside out–that’ll do it.
At that point, I knew all I could do to make it through this movie would be to hold on for dear life and watch the story unfold. As I said, it was an excellent movie. It also completely laid bare, via a fictional character, the insecurities and torments that plague many would be writers, such as, unfortunately, myself. I know neither of my friends had any idea what was going through my mind as I watched the rest of the film, but watching that scene made me feel like I was standing in front of a crowd, naked, giving a speech on something I did not prepare. So, if you know a writer or would be writer or wanna be writer and you want to understand anything about how their minds work–go see this film. If you are a would be/wanna be writer, still go see the movie, but be prepared to be completely blown away by it. This is not meant to be a “woe is me” post or a critical review of the movie, but perhaps seeing this movie simply came, for me, at a time when everything is already so shaky. Graduation is mere months away and there are so many decisions to be made. The economy is not in a great place and neither is my writing, if I’m being honest with myself. The real world is a scary place to be as a college graduate right now, especially as a college graduate with a degree in liberal arts and little knowledge of what she wants to do other than “write…or something.”
All this said, maybe it is a good movie to see. Maybe we all need that wake up call that we have to push through…whatever it is…that plagues us if we really believe in our passion. Bradley Cooper’s dad tells him, after refusing to lend him money, that maybe he should consider his writing to be a hobby and to get a real job. Maybe we all have to reach that point and choose one of two ways–to let our passion be just a “hobby” while we face reality and the cold, hard facts of life or maybe, like Bradley’s character did, we say to ourselves “just a little bit longer” and…somehow, we stumble across something that can give us everything we’ve dreamed about…although, hopefully, without the exact circumstances and consequences presented in “The Words.” But I don’t want to spoil the ending of the movie. And, as for me, I don’t know where things will go or how they were end, but the journey is all there really is and all we can do is hang on tight and try not to shut our eyes.