I saw Words and Pictures two weeks ago at the super quaint Cinema Theater on Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York where pet therapy (the theater cat) is free with admission. Usually I am chomping at the proverbial cat nip to write about a film, and it wasn’t that the film was bad that kept me mum till now, but two other factors instead.
For one the film hits a little too close to home. Meaning, as an English teacher of 28 and a half years, I am always longing for, and uber excited when, new teachers are hired by my district. Let’s face it, we (teachers) live a cloistered life, not only in an our individual islands of classrooms, but in our precious microcosmic world which follows us home weeknights nine months out of the year.
So yes, I was envious that a Clive Owen character could be a swaggering English teacher in any world and that he would fall for a plainly adorable rheumatoid arthritis victim such as Juliette Binoche. Don’t the Clive types really always go for the perky first year teacher whose wide eyed enthusiasm wakes him from his jaded mediocrity? Didn’t I even ask my friend when she was fixing me up with such back in ’99 (goodness I’m old) that didn’t really good looking men equal trouble?
Anyway, the movie was satisfactory, despite poor reviews on Rotten Tomatoes 42 critic, 58 audience. My rating would be more of a 75, so in teacher talk, it’s not quite mastery level. The main problems were: the students were much too two dimensional and their subplot angst was not well acted. The other issue was Juliet Binoche was just too demanding and surly to be worthy of a man chasing after her. The most cringe worthy scenes were: one, after their first love making session (not shown by the way) which Juliette’s character prefaced by saying she wasn’t sure she could operate her sex life dormant for years, post-coitus suddenly becomes insatiable nympho. Second was the cheesey wine drinking to a love song scene, where they almost feed each other grapes. Holy cliché.
My second reason for not diving into blogging about the film is that, my readership has not exactly been growing. Yes, I need to change my domain name to something easier for people to type. Yes, I need to consult my notes from my meeting with the successful blogger Jennifer Blanchard and do the items instructed. My excuse for that procrastination is that I met with her at the end of the school year, on a school night, hence refer back to my alluding to the teacher mind as mush during nine months of the year.
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