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Doane Gregory | Courtesy Roadside Attractions Clive Owen (left) and Juliette Binoche play prep-school teachers who spark romantically, and argue intellectually, in "Words and Pictures," scheduled to open in Salt Lake City on June 13.
Movie review: Binoche enlivens plodding romance ‘Words and Pictures’
First Published Jun 12 2014 05:17 pm • Last Updated Jun 16 2014 02:12 pm

The romantic comedy-drama "Words and Pictures" delivers lofty speechmaking and pretty visuals in a slow-moving and cliché-ridden story.

At a prestigious prep school, alcoholic author and English teacher Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) meets a new colleague, Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), a New York painter and art teacher battling rheumatoid arthritis.

At a glance


‘Words and Pictures’

Opens Friday, June 13, at area theaters; rated PG-13 for sexual material including nude sketches, language and some mature thematic material; 111 minutes.

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They banter and bicker intellectually, with Dina telling her students that "words are lies" and Jack countering that words say more than pictures. Thus begins a "war" that plays out in class assignments, energizing the students and sparking a romance. Meanwhile, Dina finds inspiration in spite of her ailment, while Jack’s drinking endangers his job and his relationship with his adult son (Christian Scheider).

The script, by Gerald Di Pego ("Phenomenon"), moves predictably through Jack’s alcohol issues, and director Fred Schepisi ("Roxanne") only boosts the energy occasionally with a focus on the teachers’ sharper students.

The leads are engaging, though Binoche carries more of the load — not only with a charming performance as the prickly artist, but also by painting her own pictures.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

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