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Read My Lips
Read My Lips
Actors: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Devos, Olivier Gourmet, Olivier Perrier, Olivia Bonamy
Director: Jacques Audiard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 55min

Carla is beginning to chafe at the limitations of her career and is looking to move up. But as a 35-year-old woman with a hearing deficiency, she is not sure how. Into her life comes Paul Angeli, a new trainee. At 25, he ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Devos, Olivier Gourmet, Olivier Perrier, Olivia Bonamy
Director: Jacques Audiard
Creators: Jacques Audiard, Alix Raynaud, Bernard Marescot, Jean Louis Nieuwbourg, Jean-Louis Livi, Philippe Carcassonne, Tonino Benacquista
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/22/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 55min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

It's always the details, details, details
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Carla (Emmanuel Devos) in Jacques Audiard's "Read My Lips" (Sur Mes Levres) is a social failure on several counts: she's practically deaf and wears two hearing apparatuses, she considers herself drab, with lifeless hair and spotty skin, she's overworked and under appreciated as an administrative assistant, she is taken advantage of by her prettier friends and employer, her fellow workers call her a "dog" and is used as a convenient, anytime baby sitter by one friend in particular. But Carla has one thing none of her friends and co-workers have: she's devilishly intelligent and merely waiting, lying in wait really, for an opportunity to implement her intelligence and unleash her wrath on a uncaring and unfeeling world. That opportunity comes in the guise of one Paul (Vincent Cassell) who applies for a job as Carla's assistant, having just been released from prison for theft and a multitude of other petty crimes. Paul, though applying for a job as an assistant to Carla has no experience on computers, taking dictation, using a copy machine or making coffee for that matter. But Carla, sensing a kinship and maybe something else, hires Paul on the spot...experience or not.
Carla likes ordering Paul around and uses Paul and his friend's "muscle" and strong-arm tactics to get things done at her place of employment... a Real Estate firm. Carla first utilizes Paul's larcenous skills by having him steal some papers from a co-worker and thus make him (the co-worker) look like a jerk to their boss and Carla a hero. Paul has ideas of his own also, and when he learns that Carla can read lips he asks for her help to bilk his night employer out of some major cash.
Carla is a great character: a seething mass of contradictions...straight-laced on the surface yet underneath a big mass of resentment and pent-up hate and hostility. Emmanuel Devos does a remarkable job with this role: she's appropriately sheepish and shy when appropriate but check out her eyes...there's a deep morass of something else, something larcenous, perhaps. Carla may be hard of hearing and a stooge for her friends and co-workers...but she ain't no dummy, that's for sure.
Vincent Cassell as Paul is on the one-hand scary as hell looking: greasy hair, tattooed arms yet there is a softness there and Cassell plays both sides of his character with aplomb: most of the time both in the same scene. The combination of his raw, brute-like force and street smarts and her intelligence and hostility makes for an unbeatable combination for a screen pair like we've never before seen.
Jacques Audiard has made a film about two down-and-out people who use crime as a way out of their predicament and, though it isn't at all easy... it works because, though Paul and Carla can grate on your nerves, they have a concrete plan that Carla makes sure is followed to a "T."
Ultimately, it is all about Charm....isn't it? And Audiard has made sure that Paul and Carla come off as the heroes of his film....downtrodden, desperate even, but sweet, charming and remarkably organized and intelligent. Like I've always said: It's always about the details, details, details."
Partners in Love and Crime: Romantic in its Original Way
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Read My Lips" stars Vincent Cassel ("Crimson Rivers") and Emmanulle Devos, directed by Jacques Audiard, whose father Michael was also in the film business, a famous writer for many Fench noir films. And this film is also a great noir, based on one simple idea which Audiard uses quite brilliantly.The film is seen from the viewpoint of Carla (Devos), who works at a small office as secretary. Carla, who is now mid-thirty and needs a hearing aid, is always ignored at her office, and is made to work hard before the copy-machine. And her life is utterly lonely.So, when the boss told Carla to hire an assistant, she wants someone whom she can definitely "amiable." And preferably, male. Enters a guy named Paul (Cassel), who is, as he reveals soon, on parole, and may still have some connection with the underworld. Does she hire him? Why not, and he is very handsome.The relations between Carla and Paul lead on to the series of unexpected events, including a love story and big money. Carla is clearly in love with Paul, but at the same time she kind of exploits him as his possible "love" and employer; Paul also uses her special gift of "reading lips" in the situation like "Rear Window," in which he might get even with the gangster who had once humiliated him."Read My Lips" belongs to the genre of noir, some people say rightly, but the film works better as a romance between two losers in society. It's not an usual love or romance. It's a kind of romance in which one finds a consolation in the other, but the act starts to violate the codes of ethics as it goes on and on. There are crimes depicted here, but the most profoundly moving one is about the very dangerous relationship between Carla and Paul, or especially anything about Carla, who manipulates and is manipulated.Great acting from Emmanuelle Devos who must be both "ugly" and "seductive" at the same time. She simply rivets your eyes on the screen whenever she appears. No wonder she beat Audrey Tautou at Cesar Awards, winning the best actress. Even Vincent Cassel pales before him, and that's really something.The only complaint is its unnecessary sub-plot about the parole officer, which looks as if mercilessly cut to make room for the two leads. I thought, OK, but why not cut it all?That aside, "Read My Lips" is a strong film about the power-game between the man and woman. Rarely was the relation between man and woman depicted so convincingly. And love, very fragile kind of love."
'Read My Lips' is a treat for any intelligent movie watcher
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 06/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the fact I'd heard no buzz about it, I stumbled upon 'Read My Lips' earlier this year and thought I'd give it a try. Now, I'm trying to spread the word to everyone I know: See this movie. 'Read My Lips' is taut, thrilling, complex, and intelligent. Everything you want in a movie-watching experience.French director Jacques Audiard has said of this film that he wanted to explore the possibilities from pairing an intelligent but not very good-looking woman with a good-looking man who's not the sharpest stick in the drawer. Thus, we're presented with our anti-heroes, Carla and Paul. Audiard does a great job giving us a visual painting of their respective backgrounds.Carla: nearly deaf, approaching 'old maid' status (35 and no prospects in sight), obviously bright but trundled on and all but ignored at work (consigned to be an admin at a male-dominated construction company), taken for granted by her friendsPaul: Just released from prison, no discernable talents outside of those that got him into hot water to begin with, desperate to find a job to kind his parole officer happy.These characters hook up, do a wary dance, and slowly realize how they can use each other's 'unique' talents. What a ride. It's brilliantly staged by Audiard.One item of note: dowdy and 'not good looking' (Audiard's term) Carla is played by Emmanuelle Devos, who only happens to be one of the world's most beautiful film actresses. So, it takes quite a lot of work to establish the Carla character as overlooked and ignored. Audiard does his brilliantly - for example, coffee cups and water glasses are left wordlessly on her desk as others kibbitz around her and blithely ignore her presence. It's subtle, intelligent movie making, the kind of stuff you want to acknowledge and support."
A fast-paced caper film with an emotional tug. I loved it!
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 10/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 2001 French film is done so well that my emotions were touched in every scene. Carla, played by Emmanuelle Devos, is a secretary in her mid thirties. She's mostly not noticed by her peers and is often called upon to do favors for her friends. She has a hearing aid and, when she uses it, she can hear everything. She can also read lips. Because she is overworked, her boss says she can hire an assistant. She chooses a good looking male ex-con without any skills, played by Vincent Cassel. She asks him for a favor which has to do with stealing some documents which will result in her getting a promotion at work. After that, he asks her to use her lip-reading skills to help him out in a caper. It's not all as simple as that though. Eventually, everything spins out of control and the caper takes over. It's a fast paced romp from here on in with the bittersweet beginnings of a romance. There are twists and turns of the plot which sometimes seem a bit contrived but by then I was so caught up in the story that I didn't care.This is a fine film with a unique theme. Recommended."