Words and Pictures (2014)
Starring Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Bruce Davison, Navid Negahban, Amy Brenneman, Valerie Tian, Adam DiMarco, Josh Ssettuba
Directed by Fred Schepisi
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
When English teacher Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) first meets famous artist-turned-art teacher Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche) upon her arrival at an expensive private school in Maine, they don't hit it off. Dina's deadpan seriousness won't stand for his bombastic and cocky personality. After multiple romantic refusals, Jack decides to take Dina to war and use his students as pawns setting up a battle of words versus pictures. Is the written word more important in the grand scheme of things than art or is a picture really worth a thousand words?
As someone with an English degree (I know...sometimes it's not easy to believe that with this blog), I found the faux war surprisingly intriguing. There's a lot of somewhat intellectual talk on the gravity of words and the emotions of art that played nicely against each other thanks to what Owen and Binoche bring to their characters. However, as I mentioned, during the film's final hour, it shifts to a typical "opposites attract" romance that admittedly the film had been telegraphing from the get-go, but I had hoped it might bypass. The depth of the battle between Jack, Dina, and their students is infinitely more thought-provoking than the very basic and obvious puppy love between the two teachers. While this aspect certainly isn't a reason to completely dismiss Words and Pictures, the courtship is a bit of a detriment.
The RyMickey Rating: B-