Jack Marcus is an eccentric English teacher at a prep school in the country who used to be intensely passionate about his line of work. However, over the years he has become increasingly demotivated by his students' lack of zest; they're well-behaved and polite, but not enthusiastic enough for Jack who spends most of his time drinking away his troubles when he's not working. The school has just employed a new art teacher called Dina Delsanto, who is also bitter about how her life has turned out considering she was once one of the top abstract artists in her field. Jack is facing losing his job if his performance review suffers, but he finds himself deeply attracted to Dina and filled with a new passion as he sets out to prove to the haughty artist that words are much more meaningful than pictures. As the two engage in a creative battle, it seems their lives are quickly becoming reinvigorated.
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Jack (Michael Caine) has recently died, leaving in his wake a widow, two children, and three close friends. His last wish is that lifelong companions Vic (Tom Courtenay), Lenny (David Hemmings), and Ray (Bob Hoskins) throw him out to sea at the honeymoon spot he shared with wife Amy (Helen Mirren). His son, Vince (Ray Winstone), joins them.
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