Trailers these days are getting out of control with spoilers. But don't worry, we're here to sort out whether or not you should watch a certain trailer beforehand. We'll take a look at how accurate the marketing is to a film's tone and plot, as well as warn of any spoilers it might contain.
The film is arrogant and somber. If you think that sounds like a tough combination, you'd be right. One person is telling a story about another person, who has taken yet another person's story. Based on the film's poster, with Bradley Cooper being held by Zoë Saldana, it seemed sadness would play a huge role in this film. Perhaps someone would die, or betrayal lurks for this couple. I never once felt like crying during the movie, even though Cooper and Saldana did. The trailer is full of voiceover, and that's actually the case with the movie as well. Is that a good thing? It's one thing for someone to explain the story in about two minutes during a trailer, but a movie shouldn't be stuffed full of anyone over-explaining the basic story. The trailer would have you believe words are magical, and the beauty that you'll hear in this film will transcend. I agree with the first part (words can be magical), but this film never captures it.
In the film, a fictional author (Dennis Quaid as Clay) stands at a podium and tells the audience a story about a fictional author (Cooper as Rory) who comes across a story (perhaps true, perhaps fiction) that was written by an old man played by Jeremy Irons. Yes, there are plenty of layers, but unraveling them isn't necessary because the movie slowly does this for you until the abrupt end. The trailer has you believe this is the parallel story of two writers (Cooper and a young man during World War II played by Ben Barnes). When I saw the film, I didn't feel this way. Mainly because their only connections are that they have women who love them, and they are trying to become writers. There's nothing else. It's not enough. Irons does a good job teasing excitement and serious consequences, but it's only felt in the trailer, not the film.
Remember how I mentioned Quaid? Well, the trailer fails to bring him in to the picture until the two-minute mark. He also only has one line in the trailer. That's not the case for the film. He's the main narrator, and everything he is talking about is fiction (wink wink). The trailer doesn't even explain that Rory is a fictional character within the film. Normally I don't want to reveal spoilers, but that's quickly explained in the beginning of the film and worth noting that the people trying to sell The Words avoided mentioning it. It feels misleading. When Irons says, "There she was, he saw a world bigger than the one he was born in to," that's not how Cooper's character feels about Saldana's. When Cooper says, "I have to tell you something," there is a very good chance you already know what he's about to tell. After all, the trailer explains that Rory stole another writer's story. That doesn't come up in the film until at least 30 minutes in, if not longer.
For me, if you have a dream sequence, it better be pretty damn entertaining and actually somehow matter. Otherwise, it's just another layer of fiction that you are trying to get me to believe. The world within the world was one issue I had with the film, but the trailer never bothers to touch on it. This is the case of the trailer being better than the film, and the trailer doesn't even impress me all that much. That's right, feel free to watch the trailer, and avoid the film.