Inwardly, Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) knows he has lost his lust for life ~ a once literary giant waging a battle with alcohol and getting nowhere fast. He is however a good and caring teacher that tries to excite and motivate his students to love 'words' he is so passionate about. His approach is not convincing the students as they seem to sense he is not as passionate as he once was. They're not far from the truth as Jack is battling to keep his job which is under threat. He's also losing his grip on family, an only son he seems to fail more times than he wants to remember and hence finds it easier to drown his sorrows in a bottle than face up to his failures.
Portrait of a good and caring teacher who seems to have lost his passion along the way
Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), a celebrated artist battling the crippling disease of rheumatoid arthritis joins the school as a fine arts teacher. The 'icicle' as she is called behind her back, immediately becomes a target and a challenge for Jack. He tries to break down that cold exterior as he involves her in his word games that generally annoys and has all his colleagues steering clear of him. She has her own demons to deal with in coming to terms with her disabilities, languishing in its effects.
A celebrated artist fighting a crippling disease
The beginnings of taunting and challenging with words by Jack, ignites the competitive spirit in Dina to retaliate and respond. Between them, they sweep up their students and the whole school with what turns into a battle of words versus pictures, and find themselves becoming energised by this exchange. Is it a case of 'in the beginning there was the word', or is it truer that 'a picture can paint a thousand words'. Both strong arguments indeed!
A battle of words and pictures that ignites the passion for living in two lost souls
The movie sweeps along pleasantly enough, however I felt that the battle between words and pictures fell a little short of being intensive. I reckon they could have made it punchier and more exciting, instead of just coming up with tame and pleasant battles. I do however, bow down to the scene between Jack Marcus and his son. That scene for me was powerful enough to have tears streaming down my face, and my body shuddering with silenced sobs. Kudos to Clive Owen for that bit of powerhouse acting in that scene. I give it a 6 out of 10.
I have Vanessa's message in the writers forum firmly planted in my mind about spoilers ~ and her big tip, talk about how you felt about it rather than tell the whole story word for word :) I was just like u doing my first (My sweet pepperland) and again for a stage/theatre/play review (Loveplay being my first and only so far, 2 more coming up) Just love the challenge Mary-Jane and u will do perfectly well I have no doubt :) x