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
Wonderful and Poignant, thank God for a middle-agers romance although teens will like it, too
At a posh New England secondary school, with an ocean setting, English teacher Jack (Clive Owen) is in the midst of a middle age crisis. Only, he doesn't know it. Not yet. Others have observed that he drinks too much and is often a few minutes late to class, with poor lesson planning. To his credit, Jack is extremely dedicated and bright, making the most of his classes and connecting well with students. But, he is headed for trouble. That is, until a new art teacher, Dina (Juliette Binoche) arrives at the academy, cane in hand, for she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Needless to say, Jack rubs her the wrong way almost instantly, although it is quite clear that Dina can give tit for tat. After a discussion in her art honors class, students tell Jack that Dina thinks words are far less important and meaningful than pictures. Ho ho, Jack pounces on this pronto. Now, he tells his pupils, this is war and lays out a strong defense of the power of words by reading many meaningful passages of literature. An ultimate challenge of the two dueling forms of communication may lie ahead. In the meantime, Jack is told he is going to be "reviewed" by the board of directors and may be let go. He also is having difficulties with his college age son. Happily, Dina may be showing some romantic interest in Jack. What lies ahead in the battle of words and pictures? This wonderful and poignant movie is most welcome in this age of flicks aimed at young adult males. It offers a romance between middle aged characters and has an alluring, finely written script. Owen and Binoche are pitch perfect in their roles while the supporting cast of Bruce Davison, Amy Brenneman, and well-selected teenage actors are charming, too. The coastal setting is absolutely lovely while costumes, photography, and a worthy direction by Fred Schepisi bring terrific results. Please go support this movie, true-blue film fans. Unless you do, Hollywood won't offer this kind of movie very often.
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