Words and Pictures

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Fred Schepisi
Production: Roadside Attractions
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min



Oh, hey. Sorry, I'm late.

- No.

- Are you ready?


How you feeling? Are you nervous?


I've brought three casseroles,

and I put them in the fridge.


I can do this one.

Okay, here's your purse.

Your lunch is inside.

Um, there's a...

There's a ramp around

the side if...

I'm fine.

Let's go, let's go.

Four minutes late, Mr. Marc.

Did you bring a note?

Stanhope, read aloud

where we left off.

"Richard and I went across the

road to the stubbly field,

"and I let him climb

in the tractor saddle,

"and I showed him..."

Stanhope, you're a sleeping pill.

It's not me, it's...

It is you. Of course it's you.

You've already been

accepted at MIT,

and you're wondering

why you should care.

Why should Stanhope

care about John Updike?

Who can answer this?

Who are you droids?

Where is my class that you've

kidnapped and replaced?

He should care because

Updike wrote...

"The lesson over,

"he went to the garden patch

and joined his mother.

"He punched her stomach,

"and I watched them pretend to box.

"Above them, on a

single strand of wire

"strung to bring our

house electricity,

"grackles and starlings neatly

punctuated an invisible sentence."

You ever heard that before?

Updike has handed you an image

that was never described before.

What do you think of his gift?


Fine. You know?

While I take a nap, your

assignment is to write

a never-before created image,

one that will shake me and

cause me to put your work

in the next issue of

the Croyden Lion.

Yes, Tammy?

You haven't graded our

last three assignments,

and I don't know where

I stand in this class,

and I need an "A" because I'm

not accepted to Princeton yet,

and they'll take this

quarter's grade into account.

What a dull, plodding sentence.

Of all the words you

had to choose from,

all the possibilities

of rhythm and sequence,

you gave me oatmeal

when you could have served

me a New York steak.

Just write the assignment

now, everyone.

Just one sentence that

elevates humankind

with one image fresh-baked

from the ovens

of your computer-deadened,

shopping mall-suffocated minds.

Shaftner, wake up!

Write, you droids.


- Good morning, Jack.

- Will.

You were late again.

Car trouble.

Who's the bastard

that turned me in?

I am.

Why are you always late this year?

I don't know.

Why are you always dressed


I guess I do tend toward

the look of a uniform.

Past life maybe.

You were an usher?

Come and see me in my office,

first period after lunch.

What, because I was late?

More. There's more.



- Ellen?

- Not playing.

Not playing.

Walt? Antihistamine.

Uh, bifurcation.

Only four syllables. My point.

Don't encourage him.

Okay, bifurcational.

I'll accept.

So we're getting

three of them today,

the teachers from that

failed Croyden school.


We're getting art honors.

Do you know who's

teaching art honors?

- No.

- And what they call her?

- Coextensively.

- Will you stop?

Will you stop interrupting?

It's Walt's turn.

Uh, diabolical, and I quit.

Who is this?

Dina Delsanto.

She's a very successful painter.

You couldn't afford to collect her.

The only thing Walt

collects is lint.

So what do they call her?

The Icicle.

They say she caned a student.

She caned a kid?

That's nonsense.

They would have put her in prison.

Well, let's check for a tattoo.

Good morning.

I would like to introduce

our new teachers...

Miss Elliot, Latin, Mr. Chow, Math,

and Miss Delsanto, Art Honors.

Please make them feel welcome.

Any questions, we'll defer to Walt,

'cause he's been

teaching here since, uh,

when was it, 1842?


This way. I will show

you to your classes.

Miss Delsanto, make

yourself at home, please.

Excuse me.

Mr. Chow, I will see

you later today.

Thank you.


My name's Jack Marcus.

Kids call me Mr. Marc.

And now you say your name.

Uh, we were introduced.

Oh, I never listen

to the headmaster.

So what do you teach?

Art Honors.

Hence the scarf.

And you?

Honors English.

Hence the hence.

Feel like a warm-up game?

Uh, no.

I say a five-syllable

word that starts with

you say a five-syllable

word that starts with

and we go on until

someone is stumped.



Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

All right, I'll allow that.


Now, you can challenge my

word if you think it's wrong,

but if you lose the challenge,

it's an extra point for me.



Italian, not allowed.

Oh, you didn't stipulate English.

Of course the game's in English.


Five English syllables, please.


All right, I'll allow that.

Examination. "F" to you.


This is the lounge, isn't it?

Would you please

allow me to lounge?

Certamente, Signorina.

Thank you.

There's just one thing.

Did you really hit a

student with that cane?

No. It was a teacher.


Hey, don't. Just...

Come on! Shh!




Miss Delsanto, we'd hoped you'd

bring in some of your paintings.

My favorites are the

ones that you did

when you lived in, um, New York.

Personally, I'm a fan of

your more figurative work.


And we're so glad that you

chose our little town.

I didn't choose.

Well, but moving from New

York to the country, I...


So you want to know why I

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Gerald Di Pego

Gerald Di Pego was born in 1941. He is a writer and producer, known for Instinct (1999), Phenomenon (1996) and The Forgotten (2004). He has been married to Christine DiPego since 1992. He was previously married to Janet Kapsin. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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