Words and Pictures

Music Composed By: Paul Grabowsky

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The dramatic film Words and Pictures centers around two teachers at Croyden, an upscale college prep school that hires accomplished professionals to teach advanced courses.  Jack Marcus (Clive Owen), a writer and poet, teaches the advanced writing class.  A high functioning alcoholic who inspires his students, Jack hasn't published anything original in years.  Artist Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche) has just been hired to teach the advanced art class.  Once a successful painter in New York City, Dina hasn't been able to paint due to severe rheumatoid arthritis.  Dina has a distinct distaste for the written word, attracting the attention of Jack who perceives Dina as a challenge.  But can a romantic relationship that stems from artistic rivalry survive after a surprising truth comes out?

            The musical score of Words and Pictures was created by Paul Grabowsky, an Australian composer, pianist, arranger and conductor whose interest in music began at a young age.  Learning to play the piano at the age of five, Grabowsky began his musical studies in classical music, but soon found a love for jazz.  Performing and writing music for other artists, Grabowsky began creating musical score for television and film in the late 1980s.  Some of Grabowsky's scoring projects include Innocence, Human Touch, Shiner, Last Orders, It Runs in the Family and The Eye of the Storm

            The Words and Pictures Soundtrack features mainly piano, guitar and strings.  The main theme of the film, heard in the Opening Titles, is scattered throughout the album.  Containing a hint of romance, the theme possibly represents the rebirth of creativity through the initiation of romance.  There is some melancholy sound to this score that hints at the harsh realities of life.  More importantly, once you know what the film is about, one can actually picture the moments when Dina is painting...the music imitates art as Dina's brush strokes the canvass, creating a smooth, artistic melody.  One gets the distinct impression that the abrupt, short movements in the score represent Jack's personality clashing with Dina's.

            The music of Words and Pictures probably makes for a good accompaniment the film, capturing the quirkiness of the artistic main characters, their passions, their unlikely romance and eventual turmoil and drama.  Listening to the soundtrack prior to knowing what the film was about, I found myself enjoying the music as a stand alone album, admiring the piano pieces set amongst the string backgrounds.  I didn't hear much about Words and Pictures while it was in theaters, but I am happy to have heard the music for the film by Paul Grabowsky and can't wait to hear more from this artist.


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