Jean-Paul Sartre was the father of it all: youth culture, revolutionary violence, free love. He was a spiritual leader to millions of young people worldwide, and presided over the great intellectual revolution that swept over Europe, America and the rest of the world after WWII: existentialism.

From out of the fascist horrors of WWII, this one-time provincial French schoolteacher crafted a philosophy of personal autonomy, where man was free to choose what he wanted to be and was responsible for his own actions. Certainly no other 20th-century philosopher had so direct an impact on the minds and attitudes of so many human beings, especially student youth. Helping mold the person he would become, his soul mate, Simone de Beauvoir, stood at his side as their philosophy swept, like a great wave, over postwar Europe, America and the world.

An original screenplay, The Words portrays what it was like to be them then: amid the avant-garde atmosphere of the Left Bank of Paris, the world of loose sex, hot jazz, free-flowing alcohol, smoky, espresso-drinking habitués of cafes, nonconformism, and rebellion from the bourgeoisie establishment.