REVIEW — “Words and Pictures”
Words and pictures is a fusion of an “inspirational teacher drama” and a “Romance”. Jack Marcus (Clive Owen)is a brilliant yet arrogant prep school English teacher who seems to have lost his vigor for teaching, writing and life altogether. His superiors are fed up with his attitude and his job and his good standing in the academic community is threatened to be taken from him. To prove that he is worthy of his job, he attempts to inspire his students by waging a philosophical “War” on the new Honors Art Teacher, Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche). The two teachers fight for their respective views (Words, vs. pictures) by inspiring their students. In the process they come to inspire and draw closer to one another
Words and Pictures is sweet and inspirational in an uplifting but unchallenging way. When you leave the theater you’re probably going to want to read some more books and/or take up painting. You’re not going to sit in your car for 30 min wondering if this is real life of if you’ve been doing everything wrong this whole time. The students in the film bring a great dynamic to the classroom scenes but as soon as they get to be compelling individual characters, the movie shifts all of its focus on the romance and the students take a way way back seat.
Owen and Binoche have great chemistry. Their frequent and often flirty banter is quick, witty and full of energy. Especially Juliette Binoche’s character. That woman is a feisty firecracker and it provides a great balance to Owen’s arrogance. Even the development of their relationship as a whole was written very well. But that’s not to say that this movie doesn’t have it’s cheesy parts. Sometimes the dialogue almost gets too sappy, but Owen and Binoche are just so wonderful I ended up being ok with it.
My main issue with the movie is that it drags on far too long. My experience watching the film was enjoyable but I found myself wondering more than once when the film was going to be over. A couple times it felt like it ended, then it kept on going… and going. I was surprised to find out that it was only an hour and 50 min long.
Overall I had a lovely time watching Words and Pictures. Binoche an Owen are a delightful pair which makes up for the films length issues. I think that fans of modern art or those who are involved in education will especially like this film. If you want to see it in the theater, go for it. I don’t think you’ll be mad about it, but I think this one would be better to save for Redbox.