I could take this post in several directions. Words and Pictures could be about me since I love to write and I am a photographer. In fact, I could write many posts concerning that topic. However, this post will be about the new movie Words and Pictures.
Gerald DiPego wrote a wonderful romantic comedy about two rival teachers, one teaches English and the other an accomplished abstract artist who now teaches art classes. What makes this movie unique is the art teacher has rheumatoid arthritis. DiPego wanted both lead characters to have their own struggles, so the female lead has rheumatoid. However, DiPego has a family member who had rheumatoid arthritis so he was able to get their input.
Juliette Binoche plays the artist who has rheumatoid. She stated in interviews that she met with patients and physical therapists in order to better understand the disease and how it impacts daily life. She also made suggestions how the character could compensate and adjust with her disease by laying across a chair to paint or using larger brushes since she struggled to hold her brush in the traditional manner.
Personally, I think she did an excellent job portraying a person with rheumatoid disease. Her struggles with everyday, routine tasks are real and relatable. She shows the physical inabilities and frustrations of not being able to do what you once could do – in her case, art. Can’t we all relate to that?
I believe this story touched me because I am involved in the world of art. I had purchased my dream camera just prior to the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid. When the disease hit me full force, I could not hold my camera. It was too heavy and I was too weak. It was heartbreaking. I remember sitting in the chair, unable to stand without assistance, wondering what my future would hold. I had no idea if I would ever take another photo. Hope seemed so far away.
One comment in the movie that touched me deeply was made by Binoche’s character. She was relating how the disease had changed her and said she wanted to do things again because she never knew when she might not be able to do it. I can relate to that thought. One of the many things this disease has taught me is to enjoy what you can, when you can because you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I am very grateful we have writers, like Mr. DiPego, who choose to have a main character in a movie with rheumatoid arthritis. I am also grateful for those in acting, like Juliette Binoche, who are willing to take the role of a character with rheumatoid and go to the extent of researching to learn about the disease in order to portray it accurately.
If you get a chance to see the move, I think you’ll enjoy it.