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Words & Pictures [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 2,576 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A witty romantic drama, WORDS AND PICTURES stars the engaging duo of Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen working together on-screen for the first time. Prep school English teacher Jack Marcus (OWEN) laments his students' obsession with social media and good grades rather than engaging with the power of the written word. A one-time literary star, Jack has not published in years filling his spare time with drink versus the art of language. He meets his match in Dina Delsanto (BINOCHE) -- an abstract painter and new teacher on campus, who was once celebrated for her art. From the start, the two flirt and provoke each other with equal relish. With a performance review looming and his teaching job on the line, Jack hatches an inspired plan for galvanizing student interest in their studies: he declares a war between Words and Pictures, confident that the former can convey greater meaning than the latter. Dina and her art students accept the challenge between Jack and his English students, and the battle lines are drawn.

Product Details

  • Actors: Clive Owen, Bruce Davison, Navid Negahban
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,576 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00L16P1QU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,688 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
A big hit at the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival (I think there were three sold out screenings), it’s among the better films, if not the best film, I’ve seen so far this year.

Director Fred Schepisi’s compelling melodrama about two teachers at a Maine prep school who battle each other and their own demons satisfies not only for the story but also because of the undisputed chemistry of the two perfect leads.

Clive Owen is Jack Marcus, an aggressive, gifted, honors English teacher who preaches the power of the written – and spoken – word. For a while, he manages to hide his serious drinking problem that threatens to destroy his world. When Juliet Binoche’s Dina Delsanto the new art teacher arrives, Marcus is energized and soon there’s an open debate in the school about whether words or pictures have the greater power. It’s a battle between the dominance of the left and right brain. Delsanto is already an acclaimed abstract artist, but she no longer paints because of painful, crippling rheumatoid arthritis. But soon she is forced to paint again when the war between the two teachers becomes a school-wide event.

One of the most amazing scenes in the film is crippled Delsanto painting in a way that cleverly allows her to spread paint as she wishes on a large flat canvas. (In actual fact, Binoche is an accomplished artist and what she paints in the film is her striking original art.)

Gerald Di Pago’s original script is richly detailed and tight. And it stays on track. What a welcome relief to idiotically flat so-called romantic comedies like Adam Sandler’s BLENDED. Di Pago is a veteran screenwriter (he wrote the cult fave SHARKEY’S MACHINE).
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I really would be interested to learn how this crazy movie got written, how it could come out of someone's imagination. I call it "crazy" because having two middle-aged, unlikeable people with a volatile half-academic, half-romantic relationship doesn't sound like it'd make an endearing movie, but in this case, it does. The first half is much more lighthearted than the second half, as an English teacher who is trying to keep his job taunts the new female art teacher in word games he comes up with. He's kind of flamboyant, but in more of a Nicolas Cage crazy-person way with strongly articulated speech and aggressive arm movements than in a "gay" way. This is the kind of role Nicolas Cage would have excelled at, especially in the 80s and 90s when he was playing people who don't fit in with society and react with strong aggression in personal interactions. The female art teacher is icier than the English teacher and just as rude, both to the students and to him. The crazy thing is that they show interest in each other by taunting each other, and the students enjoy that and don't mind their rudeness. It sounds crass, but like writer-director Billy Wilder managed to do, the snide exchanges have a strange refinement to them, because of the wittiness and because a more substantial theme is at the heart of the movie. It's helpful that the movie shows background reasons why both of them are unpleasant people, without which their rudeness would make the movie unpleasant rather than funny.

Eventually the story spins into a much more serious personal one, moving out of the territory of snide romantic comedy into the deep personal problems the male English teacher and female art teacher have.
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5 Comments 93 of 100 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I just left the theater and this movie is deeply imbedded in my heart. It is right up there with my all time favorite movies.
The other reviews say what the storyline is- I can only say this movie is one not to miss.
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Format: DVD
Words and Pictures is a testament to the enormous value of quality acting. The film stars the very gifted, very sexy duo of Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen. They portray teachers at an elite preparatory school in Maine. Once a popular writer, he is now an alcoholic whose life is in stasis, though he still tries to engage and inspire his students. She is a revered painter who, sidelined mid-career by rheumatoid arthritis, agrees to teach an art course. The film charts their courtship, a Tracy/Hepburn-style blend of barbed wordplay and slowly intensifying romance, as well as an academic feud: whose artistic discipline is more vital? The way this debate is shown to ignite spirited conversation and debate among the dreamy-eyed students is an example of an artificial, borderline stilted quality which restrains this film overall. Its comfortable, crisp, white-on-white, so-New-England-it-hurts depiction of high school rings false, particularly during a climactic assembly sequence. Yet Binoche and Owen electrify. Each expertly conveys the way a sculpted persona (the devil-may-care wit, the ultra-icy stoic) can disguise painful demons, and their sophisticated chemistry is hard to resist. They obviously cannot transform this minor-key comic romantic drama into a masterpiece, but they significantly ease the burden. It goes down smoothly.
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Words & Pictures [Blu-ray]
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