The Words

Composed By: Marcelo Zarvos

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The Words is a romantic drama that contains a story within a story within a story.  It all begins with a famous author named Clayton Hammond (Dennis Quaid) attending a public reading of his novel (The Words).  As his story unfolds, we learn of the tale of Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), an aspiring writer whose first novel is repeatedly rejected.  While on his honeymoon with his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana), she presents him with the gift of an old briefcase.  Upon returning from the honeymoon, Rory discovers a well-written manuscript and eventually passes it as his own.  But when the original author (Jeremy Irons) comes forward, his revelation threatens to destroy all Rory has ever dreamed of.

            The musical score of The Words was created by Brazilian pianist and composer Marcelo Zarvos.  As a teenager, Zarvos began his classical music studies in São Paolo with West German composer H.J. Koelreutter.  He followed up his studies as an undergrad in Berklee College of Music and the California Institute of the Arts, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts before completing his Master's in Music at Hunter College.  Entering into the independent film scene in the early 2000s with his scores for Kissing Jessica Stein and The Door in the Floor, Zarvos was named one of the 25 New Faces of Indie Film in 2004 by FilmMaker Magazine.  Since then, he has composed soundtracks for a number of feature films, including Hollywoodland, The Good Shepherd, Brooklyn's Finest and Sin Nombre.

            The beauty of the musical score of The Words was immediately apparent as soon as I started listening to it.  Zarvos uses strings to perform a major theme, first noted in the track entitled The Old Man, that winds its way through various points throughout the album.  The theme is classical and striking as if representing a character with a firm sense of purpose.  As soon as I heard this theme, I found myself smiling.  I just knew that Zarvos was heading in the right direction with this score.  And as I listened further, I noted that Zarvos kept with the classical orchestral style throughout the album, the perfect choice in my opinion for a love epic.

            While I found an amazing beauty present throughout the score, my favorite track on the entire album is First Love (Track 8).  Starting tentatively at first and then growing less cautious and strengthening, growing in crescendo as the track comes to a finale, the music of First Love perfectly describes what falling in love with that very special someone is like.  It's the perfect example of music expressing life's emotions.

            While there is a drawing beauty in the love story it interprets, there is also a sadness to the music that implies all is not well in the movie.  You always seem to have that feeling that maybe there is something lying just beneath the surface, threatening to destroy the beautiful love story being described within each track.  Thus, Marcelo Zarvos has completed his mission - completing a musical score that tells the story of the movie it was created for without the need for visuals.

            The Words Soundtrack is an absolute must for classical music lovers.  As a stand alone album, the soundtrack tells the story of a love threatened by a secret.  The beauty of Marcelo Zarvos' classical composition is not to be missed.  I have no doubt that this musical score enhances the movie going experience as well, making The Words Soundtrack a well-rounded piece of composition worth taking a listen to.


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