Words and Pictures


Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance


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August 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM



Clive Owen as Jack Marcus
Juliette Binoche as Dina Delsanto
Amy Brenneman as Elspeth
720p 1080p
818.07 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 1 / 17
1.85 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 3 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by shawneofthedead 6 / 10

A mediocre film enlivened by fascinating characters and great performances.

It's a rare film that manages to be tedious and fascinating at the same time, but that's precisely what happens with the clumsily-named and executed Words And Pictures. The film's central conceit is right there in its title: a battle for supremacy unfolds between an English teacher (words) and his new colleague, who schools students in the fine arts (pictures). It shouldn't work at all, especially when the relationship moves predictably into romantic territory. But it's tough to completely dismiss the film when its awkward screenplay also features two intriguing central characters, played with subtle, almost miraculous depth by Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche.

English teacher Jack Marcus (Owen) is on the brink of academic implosion: his job is on the line, he's barely making it to his classes on time, and he's drinking a little too much for anyone's comfort. But, just as things are looking really bleak, his downward trajectory is briefly interrupted by the arrival of Dina Delsanto (Binoche), a revered artist who's losing her ability to make art as her body is increasingly ravaged by the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis. She values imagery and art; he treasures words and literature - their clash fires up their students' imaginations, even as they bicker and spar their way into an evident mutual attraction.

There's no denying that the film rests on an awkward foundation: the script keeps returning to the ridiculous dichotomy it establishes between words and pictures, pitting Marcus against Delsanto in a competition that makes very little sense. It's all tied up with a subplot involving shy arts student Emily (Valerie Tian), whose ability to come out of her shell to be the artist she can be is all wrapped up with issues of sexual harassment and public humiliation. Frankly, it's just not very good.

What is very good about the film is its two central characters, and the spiky, difficult and joyfully equal relationship that springs up between them. There's so much depth, sadness and maturity layered into Marcus and Delsanto that it's absolutely fascinating just to watch them in action, together and apart. Both characters have rough edges that aren't sanded away, and the odd fireworks between them work precisely because both their lives have stalled: Marcus is a charming mess who lost himself somewhere along the way; Delsanto is a brilliant artist who can no longer express herself the way she wants to. Somehow, they wind up inspiring each other to do better and be better - and, instead of feeling horribly mawkish, it works.

That's due in no small part to the excellent work done by the two lead actors. Owen sinks thoroughly into the part of Marcus, dialling up the charm and the horror of his character in equal measure. The film doesn't soften or romanticise Marcus and his problems, which gives Owen plenty of great character stuff to do. Binoche, too, has ample room to uncover the sad, yearning soul of a whip-smart, independent woman whose illness has stolen not just her art but also a little of her dignity.

Ultimately, the fantastic and fascinating interplay between the two actors and characters are pretty much worth the price of admission. They're surrounded by an odd, awkward beast of a movie, built on a very shaky foundation. But their brave, deep performances and bittersweet chemistry come very close to making Words And Pictures worth a lot more than it really is.

Reviewed by jason-47-508086 7 / 10

Far more intellectually stimulating than your average romantic comedy

This is an honest movie that could be classified as a romantic comedy, but offers something more cerebral than that.

Through its main protagonist, the witty but self-destructive Jack (who plays tennis in his lounge room when drunk) we see a glimpse of the kind of inspirational teacher from Dead Poets Society recast in the information age where students can answer any question by referring to their electronic devices, while never understanding the worth of the question in the first place.

Don't let the love story fool you into thinking this is a chick flick. It's about appreciating the creation and expression of new ideas, neatly summed-up in the title: Words & Pictures.

This movie pleasantly surprised me with its clever dialogue and wordplay, despite the boy-meets-girl, etc storyline. Well worth a look.

Reviewed by jadepietro 8 / 10

Speak to Me of Art

This film is recommended.

There have been many philosophical arguments about the power of words and images. If one picture is worth a thousand words, and actions speak louder than words, who are we to disagree? In the battle of the sexes, the latest independent film, Words and Pictures, takes on this dispute in telling its love story about an English professor and an artist, both of whom have conflicting viewpoints on the subject and their budding courtship.

Jack (Clive Owen) is an alcoholic academic who values the sacred text above all else. As fate would have it, he meets Dina (Juliette Binoche), an art teacher and painter whose rheumatoid arthritis is beginning to cripple her creative output. Both teach at an exclusive prep school. He teaches English, she teaches art, and it is their volatile relationship that is at the heart of this romantic film. One has lost that creative spark to alcohol, the other literally coming to grips with her own physical limitations. Each questions their own value and importance in a rivalry set between the schools based on the theoretical debate of words vs. pictures.

Of course, they will fall in love. It's inevitable, isn't it? Predictable. Formulaic. Conventional. Cliched. Those are some words that come to mind. Entertaining. Diverting. Enjoyable. Thought provoking. Those are some more words that succinctly describe Words and Pictures.  Fred Schepsi solidly directs the film and has wisely cast the central roles with actors who have enough presence and talent to make these characters more credible on the screen than from the written page. The preachy screenplay by Gerald Di Pego takes this interesting premise and expounds their differences ad nauseum. When the script stays true to the intellectual discourse, the film resonates. Unfortunately, it also adds some needless sub plots that go nowhere and just fill time. Some actors like Bruce Davidson and Amy Brenneman aren't given much to do and are wasted in minor roles.

But the film eventually works solely due to the chemistry of Binoche and Owens. Owen's Jack has a disheveled charm and sexiness that makes him worthy of Dina's attention. His bouts with alcohol have a chilling realism and, a speech delivered to the end of the film to his estranged son is quite moving. Binoche has a wry and expressive persona that makes her character a noble and caring rival. Her talents not only as an actress but also as an abstract painter are showcased successfully throughout the film. These actors supply the sweetness and passion that is somehow lacking in the film's creaky plot and soap opera dynamics.

At times, Words and Pictures tends to hyperventilate on its own words and storytelling. But one can readily accept this factor as the film tackles bigger issues and offers intellectual nourishment that mostly other films avoid. The film effectively emphasizes the importance of art and literature to us mere mortals. However it ultimately raises another philosophical question: Does music eclipse both as a more direct means of expression? Talk amongst yourselves, but go first see Words and Pictures as a hearty appetizer. GRADE: B

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