Saturday, June 7, 2014

WORDS AND PICTURES Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Fred Schepisi
Written by Gerald Di Pego
Starring: Clive Own and Juliette Binoche
Synopsis: Two teachers develop a budding relationship while battling their own problems and mentoring students at a private high school.

What is more powerful: words or pictures? There's countless arguments for each, and depending on the day, you could fall on either side of the argument. WORDS AND PICTURES attempts to have this discussion through the relationship of two teachers at a private high school.

Jack Marcus (Owen) is a semi-nonconventional English teacher who believes in the power and artistry of the English language. He then meets Dina Delsanto (Binoche), a famous artist who has lost a bit of her stride and takes a job as the new art teacher. The two have a flirty connection from the beginning, and soon create a words vs. pictures war with their students. All the while, they're battling their own personal demons and their growing connection.

The film's strengths lies within the diatribes Owen and Binoche are allowed to go on. They have such screen presence, and it is easy to get sucked in when they monologue about great painters, poets, and authors. The first half of the film is the strongest where we hear the sides of the 'war' and see the relationships between the teachers and the students. Owen ends up completely steals this film. He brings a gravitas to his character, and he's able to make any diatribe about words feel like you're watching a Shakespeare performance.

The later half takes a turn and almost becomes a cliche story. Both Jack and Dina's past troubles come to fruition and in turn, begins to affect their lives in various ways. Unfortunately, this half becomes a bit predictable where you can see the ending coming from a mile away. They try their hardest to transcend the script with their characters, but ultimately, it ends up being rather boring by the end. There was enough substance with the 'war' at school to make the movie somewhat interesting, and it would have been better to keep the focus on the students and teachers.

WORDS AND PICTURES tries hard to be a deep film that will spur discussions, but it gets bogged down by a simple plot structure. There were interesting ideas within the film and great performances, but it's not anything to rush out and see this weekend.

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