Silver Linings – “A Thousand Words”

silver linings

Silver Linings – A place where the critically panned can find a second chance. This week Seeds looks at “A Thousand Words.”

During winter break, I watched as many high-quality films as I could before coming back to campus and being forced against my will to watch some of the worst to ever be seen. Now that I’m back on the grind, this issue’s Silver Linings will focus on “A Thousand Words.”

It was originally filmed in 2008, but didn’t go into theaters until much later due to multiple delays. It has received a whopping 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 26 out of 100 from Metacritic. It was nominated for three Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture.

“A Thousand Words” is a 2012 comedy-drama featuring Eddie Murphy as Jack McCall, an egotistical literary agent that thinks that everyone is lesser than him and thinks he can get anything he wants. One of these things that he wants is to sign Dr. Sinja, a New Age guru that has gained a huge following.

McCall goes to Sinja’s meditation session in order to convince him to let him sell his book, but does so in an obnoxious and disrespectful way. The two agree on the deal, but McCall gets a splinter from one of the trees, which will come back and haunt him.

McCall continues to be a jerk to his assistant, wife and everyone he knows except for his mother. His mother, an Alzheimer’s patient who lives in a nursing home, keeps mistaking him for his father that left them in his childhood. The whole situation was very depressing.


Once Sinja’s book arrives, McCall grows furious as it turns out that it is only five pages long. Not long after, the tree that gave him a splinter pops up in his backyard, literally. Furious with the book and the tree, McCall talks with Sinja about the ordeal.

Sinja stops by McCall’s home, where the two notice that one of the branches has no leaves. They come to the conclusion that for every word that McCall says or writes, a leaf falls off. Once they’re gone, McCall will die.

Both confused, Sinja goes off to a conference to learn about the tree while McCall tries to go through the next few days with speaking as little as possible. This obviously would lead to many miscommunications with his family and work.

With Murphy not speaking for about half of the film, his iconic voice was not utilized enough. Audiences love to listen to Murphy talk.

The movie was not as terrible as the reviews made it out to be. It definitely fell flat with the comedy and predictable plot, but there were things that I learned while watching. Communication and learning how to forgive yourself are very important.

The aforementioned depressing scenes with McCall and his mother ended up being pretty strong as they were full of emotion, and I wanted the best for them. Also, McCall’s valet is from Nebraska, so that got me pretty excited.

Critics and the box office will say that this was a failure, but I disagree with them. For the first time ever in Silver Linings, I would say that I would actually recommend this movie. The development of McCall’s character as he faces his mortality is one worth experiencing.