Prep school English teacher Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) laments his students' obsession with social media and good grades rather than engaging with the power of the written word. A one-time literary star, he now fills his spare time with drinks versus the art of language. He meets his match in Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), an abstract painter and new teacher on campus, who was once celebrated for her art. From the start, the two flirt and provoke each other with equal relish. With a performance review and his job on the line, Jack hatches an inspired plan for galvanizing student interest in their studies: he declares war between words and pictures with Dina and her students, and the battle lines are drawn.