WORDS AND PICTURES, the new film from one our long-time favorite Australian directors, Fred Schepisi (shown at right), isn't remotely political. Yet the fact that it more than touches on what comprises a good teacher/educator also makes for a movie that can't help but get you to thinking a bit. The screenwriter, who has done an expert job in the teaching realm, if a bit less so in the plotting and execution of the romance-and-the-obstacles-to-this department, is none other
Gerald Di Pego (at left), whose resume indicates a lot of TV writing and some movies (Message in a Bottle, Instinct, Phenomenon, Angel Eyes) that might seem more feel-good fantasy than rigorous reality-based. That Di Pego manages to address his subject with a mind and hand that encompasses not only what it means to teach well but also the needs and concerns of administrators and fund-raisers (this is a private school, by the way) makes for relatively intelligent viewing. And the budding love story between our two leads -- Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen, who make the best adult lovers (sassy, smart, and very lived-in) -- we've seen in some time, just adds to the fun.
Bruce Davison (above, right) and Amy Brenneman (below, left), as well as a number of good actors in the student roles.
Six Degrees of Separation and Last Orders -- and it's hard to find a poor or even so-so performance from anyone in any of them.
Roadside Attractions and running 111 minutes -- the film opens tomorrow, Friday, May 23, in New York City at The Paris Theater and the Village VII, and in Los Angeles at The Landmark and Laemmle's Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5.