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Words and Pictures | 2014 | PG-13 | - 4.3.5

An English teacher (Clive Owen) works at a New England prep school and is infuriated with students who prefer social media to writing. When an Italian painter (Juliette Binoche) joins the school, she irritates him and the two teachers begin a challenge to determine which is more powerful, writing or painting. Also with Keegan Connor Tracy, Bruce Davison and Amy Brenneman. Directed by Fred Schepisi. [1:51]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A teen boy sexually harasses a teen girl until she cries several times, screams and files a formal complaint, after he circulates a cartoon of her nude on the Internet (we see breasts and thighs with no genital details). A teen boy ruffles a teen girl's hair, insists that she must go out with him, follows her in his car as she walks to school, calls her "Geisha," shouts in public that he wants her and that all the male students want her and he texts the girl, "Date me or else" with a smiley holding a pistol to its head. A teen boy draws a nude picture of a female teacher (we see breasts, stomach and thighs with no genital details) and the teacher laughs.
 A man tells a woman, "I want us to put our mouths together" and they kiss briefly twice; the camera fades to a modern art painting and pans to a bed in which the couple lies under sheets with bared shoulders (sex is implied) and we also see his upper chest; they agree that they can "do it" (have sex) again in twenty minutes. A man and a woman kiss briefly several times outside a school.
 A woman teacher sticks out her tongue in a bleating raspberry at a male teacher and tilts her buttocks toward him. A teenager in a classroom makes a double-handed gesture in front of his chest to indicate breasts. A teenage boy draws a cartoon of a faceless Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blowing up from an air grate and we see cartoon thighs, legs and some cleavage; beside the cartoon woman, a cartoon man looks on and sweats big drops of sweat.
 A man pronounces words beginning with the letter E in a word game based on the alphabet, then says to a woman "F to you" and smiles (sexual implication understood). A man and a woman talk in a corner of a restaurant and she says, "It was just one slip" (meaning sex) whereupon he threatens to go public if she does not help him keep his job; she reluctantly agrees and he tells her that work was better in the past because he "got laid a lot" back then. A man tells a woman that "avocado" means "testicle." A man tells three friends that he was in Playboy, as Miss January (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A high school class and two teachers speak about creating new words, examples being "textulating" (having sex while texting) and "masterbationalistic."
 In a bedroom scene a woman sleeps under covers with her bared arms and shoulders showing. In a school showcase, an old poster shows a close-up of the bare arms and shoulders of a man and a woman lying face down on a beach towel.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A teen boy knocks an elementary school boy down and another teen boy knocks the first teenager down in retaliation. A man is ejected from a bar for talking loudly and in a slurred manner and falling violently off a barstool and into a wall. A drunk man falls violently onto a wall-sized painting that is not yet dry and smears it badly; she cries and shouts at him to get out. A man cuts his hand on a broken vodka bottle in his trash can below the frame; we see some blood on the broken glass, but not on his hand.
 A woman suffers from pain and immobility from rheumatoid arthritis and her sister helps her dress and undress on the worst pain days; the afflicted woman wears long orthopedic wrist braces on one or both wrists as well as a long knee brace on one knee and we see her walk with a cane in several scenes and with two crutches in one scene; we hear that she had knee surgery and that she took two medical leaves from her job as a teacher.
 While playing racquetball outside his home, a man drinks and becomes drunk (please see the Substance Use category for more details); he is nearly struck by one ball and another ball breaks his drink glass on the ground; he moves inside and continues his game, violently kicking a chair and breaking glassware, a lamp, a picture frame/glass, a shelving unit, finally falling hard on his coffee table and breaking it. A woman crosses out her work while painting with a large brush, drops it and shouts, "Ow!" because of wrist pain. A man throws his cell phone on his desk at home in anger. A man meets his adult son with his hands shaking and biting his nails; the man cries for several seconds and tells his son that he has stopped drinking and will contact him in the future.
 A teacher confiscates a teen boy's sketchbook, the boy argues with the teacher, and the teacher turns the book into the school administrator (the boy is expelled). A man calls out to a woman, "I want to take out my heart, hand it to her, and watch her eat it." A male teacher shouts, "WARRRRRR!" at his class to motivate them; he shouts at the students in several scenes, criticizing their social media use and throws a book at one teen boy, who catches it. A man and a woman argue several times about the comparative worth of writing and fine arts. A man and a woman argue loudly about his drinking problem (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A male teacher tells another male teacher that a new female teacher is known for having caned a student; the second man says to search her body for a prison tattoo. A man asks a woman if she used her cane to hit a student and she says, "No. It was a teacher."
 An art class drawing features a small starving child with ribs showing and the body of a man lying on his back with blood on his chest and head. We see a cartoon/caricature of a girl as a nearly nude ninja holding a bloody sword (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A man brushes his teeth and we see him spit toothpaste into a sink.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 2 F-words (one mouthed silently), 2 obscene hand gestures, 8 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 14 mild obscenities, name-calling (Droids, madman, dumb-dumber-dumbest, idiot, computer-deadened, shopping mall-suffocated, undead, slimy, mean, maniac, weird, stupid, arrogant, icicle, smart-[anatomical term deleted], Jezebel, Rip van Winkle, drunken, art-wrecking), stereotypical references to men, women, prep school students, artists, writers, alcoholics, families, social media users, rich teenagers, Italians, Japanese, school administrators, exclamations (shut-up), 2 religious profanities (GD), 16 religious exclamations (e.g. God, Oh my God, God be with you, Jesus, Jesus Christ, God help you, Oh for God's sake, Christ, for Christ's sake, God, may God strike me seriously injured).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A teacher swallows an unknown pill before leaving his house for work, a teacher says the word "antihistamine" four times during a word game, a woman tells her adult sister to take some ibuprofen, a woman struggles to open a large bottle of prescription painkillers until she cries and breaks the plastic bottle with a meat-tenderizing hammer and spilling the pills on the floor (we see her finally swallow one with a glass of water), a woman tells a friend that pain medication is making her feel better, a man says that his wife has rheumatoid arthritis and prescribed drugs help the pain, and a woman says that her body does not like any pain prescriptions given to her (we do not see any of the meds). A man drinks vodka heavily throughout the film and we see him fill a thermos full of vodka and drink it in his car at lunchtime in the parking lot of his employer in three scenes, a man drinks an entire bottle of vodka in two scenes, a man drinks vodka outside while playing racquetball against the side of a shed (he stumbles and falls), a man orders a drink and tells the bartender to make it weak (we do not see him drink, but do see the bartender mixing the drink of vodka with soda and lime), a man drinks a vodka drink with three other men and women while playing a drinking game until he falls off his bar stool and the manager ejects him from the bar-restaurant while telling him that he has a drinking problem, a man drinks ¾ of a bottle of vodka and falls against a large painting that is not dry and smears the paint (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man asks another man sarcastically whether he is collecting empty vodka bottles, a man goes to an AA meeting, men and women sit at tables with glasses and bottles of wine in front of them in a bar (none are shown drinking), a man and a woman sit at an end of a bar with glasses of ale in front of them and do not drink, a man and a woman drink large glasses of wine outside a home beside a dock, and a teen boy drinks an unlabeled sports or energy drink. An old cigarette ad features a man and a woman facing the camera and lying on a beach towel while holding lit cigarettes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Education, social media, fine arts, writing, alcoholism, AA, making amends, arthritis as a crippling disease, relationships, love.

MESSAGE - Words, and images, and music are all powerful forms of communication.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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