A flamboyant English teacher (Clive Owen) and a new, stoic art teacher (Juliette Binoche) collide at an upscale prep school. A high-spirited courtship begins and she finds herself enjoying the battle. Another battle they begin has the students trying to prove which is more powerful, the word or the picture. But the true war is against their own demons, as two troubled souls struggle for connection.Written by
A very entertaining movie but a rather simple and predictable story! Director Fred Schepisi and writer Gerald Di Pego have included - and very cleverly so - two conflicting characters that come to cross purposes and these same two characters must deal not only with the other but also with their personal internal demons.
Here is a story about a clash that involves passion and intellect. Clive Owen as Jack Marcus 'English teacher' is very passionate about the written word and it's effect on the human mind and soul. Juliette Binoche as Dina Delsanto 'Art teacher' is equally passionate about the fine arts and it's effect on the human mind and soul. And so an unofficial challenge develops between these two teachers - which has the greater influence on people - 'words or pictures'. Both teachers compete to be the winner but both teachers must overcome their internal conflicts at the same time. Jack is an alcoholic and Dina suffers advanced rheumatoid arthritis. The fight is on both externally, with the help of the students, and the fight within themselves which accentuates the teachers individual aloneness in this world.
In my opinion Director Schepisi blew his chance to make a truly profound story by not expanding on the one pivotal moment in the story. That moment is when Jack falls onto the still wet painting Dina considered her greatest work! Here is the moment where words and pictures become one! No one can describe a picture and it's effect without words and words can only be comprehended by seeing in ones mind pictures which has an effect on the soul.
Instead the director turns the story into a therapy session for a rather insecure girl and Jack finally deciding to seek help for his alcohol addiction. In the end all is sunshine and springtime which ruined the movie for me. Had Dina been a more insightful artist she would have taken advantage of the 'damage' to her painting by working with it. And Jack would have written a poem or something about the how damaging ourselves also damages others around us. Thus words and pictures are but one.
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