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Film / The Words

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The Words is a 2012 romantic thriller about a young author at the pinnacle of his success, who suddenly has to confront the truth behind how he got to where he is. The story is told as an author narrating from his book, and he seems to have a very particular idea about how it ends.

Tropes Associated With This Film Include:

  • Desk Sweep of Rage: After the Old Man reads his wife's "Dear John" Letter, he knocks his copy of The Sun Also Rises off the shelf, then all his books. Then he grabs a typewriter and throws it to the ground.
  • Framing Device: The whole story of Rory and his wife and his novel are told as Clay reads from his (possibly autobiographical) novel. The first two sections come from a public reading. The final section comes as Daniella asks him what happens next. It's never made clear whether the last part comes from the novel, or from his life.
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  • In Medias Res: The story from the novel begins as Rory is being taken to get an award for his novel. Then we flashback to learn how the novel came to be, before finding out what happens next.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: The Old Man's daughter ended up dying soon after she was born. The pain of the loss is what inspired him to write.
  • Nested Story: Clay reads his novel, telling about Rory and his book, which includes him hearing the Old Man's story. Each of these has its own flashback.
  • No Name Given: The Old Man is referred to only as such.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: While on vacation in Paris, Rory finds a typewritten manuscript. He types it into his laptop. Dora accidentally reads it and assumes it's his work. Things snowball from here and it ends up a highly acclaimed bestseller. He is eventually confronted by the author of the manuscript.
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  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Averted. The Old Man was in the army during World War II, but he arrived in Europe just as the war was ending, and his unit was assigned to fix sewer lines. His trauma and pain came from the loss of his daughter, not from the war.