Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
A thoughtful film about ideas - creativity, the power of language and the eloquence of visuals - it features two impeccable performances full of vitality.
Words and Pictures doesn't possess the tender grace of "Enough Said," Nicole Holofcener's wonderful film about middle-aged love. Nor does it have the kinetic energy of a high school movie like "The History Boys", adapted from Alan Bennett's play. But it's a winning effort from a director whose varied oeuvre has consistently charmed viewers.
The movie looks like it was made for broadcast television, the place where words and pictures go to die.
Enjoyable, occasionally grueling, and overstuffed with incident and agenda.
A kind of Tracy/Hepburn rom-com with a "Dead Poets Society" backdrop and dollops of human failing for added drama, Words and Pictures stars Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche - a matchup that makes you want to like Fred Schepisi's film, even when it becomes impossible to do so.
If it wasn't for the charming top-liners who can make literary dialogue sound sexy in their sleep, the war in Fred Schepisi's Words and Pictures would have to be called off after the opening skirmish.
It's a rom-com setup lamer than anything in the Barrymore-Sandler canon, but Binoche and Owen tackle it like high drama and eke out a few sweet moments.
Owen and Binoche's vigorous, battle-scarred performances, prop up Words and Pictures even when its plotting resorts to unbelievable devices.
Words and Pictures is the cloying title of a cloying little comedy made by talented people who, not that long ago, deserved better than this, and knew it.
Audiences will walk away thinking, "What was that?" But they will walk away thinking.
Schepisi does nothing inventive visually, and the stars can't find the humanity beneath Di Pego's dialogue, generate much romantic chemistry, or make their personal struggles feel like burdens instead of scripted complications they're destined to overcome before the credits roll.
Words and Pictures doesn't get the dunce-cap award, but it does lose points for feeling phony and contrived - especially during the moments when it appears overly proud of what it is.
In the end, the only question of consequence that the story poses is whether superior acting can prevail over inferior writing. The answer lies not in the stars.
At least the irony with which this transparently written and dispassionately aestheticized film so demagogically argues for the value of words and pictures is brutally convincing.
Unfortunately, Words and Pictures fails at portraying both titular nouns.
Words and Pictures never accrues enough emotional resources to bear out the darker, heavier moments, which turns its big dramatic moves into clunky embarrassments.
Clive Owen stumbles around the scenery doing unfortunate drunken-writer shtick in Words and Pictures, a formula movie whose script is yet more unfortunate.

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