Words and Pictures

Roadside Attractions

It’s a tale often told before. The loveable, unconventional English teacher with a heart of gold has his following at his school — his devoted students who don’t quite understand why they have to read booooring books, but they sure as hell respect the heck out of him, and his fellow faculty who seems to adore him just as much. Never underestimate a pair of black rimmed glasses, fellas.

But of course, there’s but one person who is apparently immune to his charms, a quirky and aloof art teacher who appears seemingly overnight with her paints and collection of chunky Chico’s jewelry to make him question everything. Isn’t that how it always works? Making Words and Pictures‘ entry in the romcom annals a little different from the rest is the inclusion of Juliette Binoche as the free-spirited but ever so grumpy foil to Clive Owen‘s hopeful, lovestruck professor.

If the film, directed by Fred Schepisi, was able to get an arthouse mainstay (that’d be Binoche) to come out of her genre and make the leap to a fairly typical looking romantic comedy, then maybe it’s not so typical after all. In the new trailer for the film, Binoche plays the perfect curmudgeon as she attempts to rebuff Owen’s advances — he brought you flowers, girl, just accept that this is happening — and assert that she’s just there to craft her massive abstract painting and be mysterious while this fanciful optimistic man continues to bug her. It’s almost like watching Saving Mr. Banks, the romance.

It’s a given that she’s going to be wooed by her manic pixie dream dude’s advances, as the trailer let’s us know that his mere presence is enough to inspire a new crop of genius paintings (gag), but will their budding love also fuel their intellectual teasing? This movie is titled Words and Pictures, after all, and it’s being taken literally. The twosome have an all out spat about whether the written word is mightier than some oil on canvas, and their ability to frustrate each other is also enough to drive each other’s creativity.

Check out the trailer below:

Regardless of the hokiness of the plotline, in which we’ll likely find out why Binoche moved from the big city to that small town school and refuses to talk about it (she was hurt by love before, wasn’t she?), Binoche and Owen are two solid performers who will carry their love story with stride. And as was said before; there’s got to be a reason why she’s taking this romcom, right?

Words and Pictures hits theaters on May 23rd.


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