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Read My Lips (2001)

Vincent Cassel , Emmanuelle Devos , Jacques Audiard  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Devos, Olivier Gourmet, Olivier Perrier, Olivia Bonamy
  • Directors: Jacques Audiard
  • Writers: Jacques Audiard, Tonino Benacquista
  • Producers: Alix Raynaud, Bernard Marescot, Jean Louis Nieuwbourg, Jean-Louis Livi, Philippe Carcassonne
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009OOFG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,075 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Read My Lips" on IMDb

Special Features

  • In French with English subtitles

Editorial Reviews

Workplace dramas seem to have become a French specialty, and Jacques Audiard's Read My Lips ("Sur mes levres") proves a worthy follow-up to such notable predecessors in the genre as Human Resources and Time Out ("L'Emploi du temps"). The film also nods towards Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men and Hitchcock's Rear Window, but it's none the worse for that. Carla, our anti-heroine (Emmanuelle Devos), is an ugly duckling working as a secretary for a construction company in suburban Paris. Dowdy and all-but deaf, she's exploited and put upon by her male coworkers. When her boss lets her hire an assistant she bizarrely chooses Paul (Vincent Cassel), a scruffy and none-too-bright ex-con. But an odd symbiosis grows up between this pair of losers; the combination of his petty-criminal skills and her lip-reading abilities has certain potentials.

As A Self-Made Hero, his previous movie, showed, Audiard doesn't go in for lovable characters. Carla is no long-suffering saint and Paul is frankly sleazy, but this just makes their interaction all the more intriguing. Devos, glowering malevolently beneath her dark brows, and Cassel with his greasy hair and ratty moustache, turn in relishably truculent and un-starry performances, and Audiard deftly manages the transition from office comedy to gangland heist thriller with no grinding of gears. By the end the plot starts to strain belief, but it scarcely matters. The noir-ish lighting and potent use of hand-held close-ups enhance the film's sense of nervous unease, and there's ingenious use of sound to convey Carla's hearing-impaired world. Downbeat and unblinkingly amoral, Read My Lips offers pleasures that a glossier treatment would have missed entirely. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

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 is completely unskilled, but Carla covers for him when the need arises because of his other qualities - he's a thief fresh out of jail, very good-looking and maybe of some use to her. Starring Vincent Cassel (Birthday Girl, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Crimson Rivers).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's always the details, details, details July 21, 2002
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...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smell my shirt January 12, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
For those of you who have seen this rather extraordinary romantic thriller noir, my review title is self-explanatory: this is cinema verité for the 21st century. For those of you who haven't, let me note that this begins slowly, so stay with it. You won't regret it.

What French director Jacques Audiard has done is create a taunt noir thriller with a romantic subplot intricately woven into the fabric of the main plot, told in the realistic and nonglamorous manner usually seen in films that win international awards. In fact, Sur mes lèvre did indeed win a Cesar (for Emmanuelle Devos) and some other awards. For Audiard character development and delineation are more important than action, yet the action is extremely tense. The romance is of the counter-cultural sort seen in films like, say, Kalifornia (1993) or Natural Born Killer (1994) or the Aussie Kiss or Kill (1997), a genre I call "grunge love on the lam" except that the principles here are not on the road (yet) and still have most of their moral compasses intact.

Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos play the nonglamorous leads, Paul and Carla. Carla is a mousy corporate secretary--actually she's supposed to be mousy, but in fact is intriguing and charismatic and more than a wee bit sexy. But she is inexperienced with men, doesn't dance, is something of a workaholic who lives out a fantasy life home alone with herself. She is partially deaf and adept at reading lips, a talent that figures prominently in the story. She is a little put on by the world and likes to remove her hearing aid or turn it off. When she collapses from overwork her boss suggests she hire an assistant. She hires Paul, who is just out of prison, even though he has no clerical experience.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful
A friend of mine recommended this movie. It was an unusual story line, very suspenseful, and great acting! I was so glad I took his advice to watch it.
Published 2 months ago by R. Brewington
5.0 out of 5 stars A true gem
Fantastic story, acting, and directing. But even more than that, the real strength of this movie is the cinematography -- the extreme close-ups of her let us into her world of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bud Knecht
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting movie
I have been a fan of Vincent Cassel for awhile so decided to check this out. It was an interesting movie and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't great. Just good.
Published 18 months ago by N. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
This movie has a great story, and great actors. Interesting from beginning to end. The 2 main characters are especially captivating. Everything about this film is wonderful.
Published on June 24, 2012 by Disgruntled
1.0 out of 5 stars Read My Lips
This movie looks bored and lame. I fell sleep without watched it all. This movie sucks!!! Do not buy it.
Published on March 11, 2012 by polaroid seeker
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this movie
"Sur mes lèvres" is the french title. I am a big fan of Vincent Cassel. And the plot in this movie is quite unique and interesting. Read more
Published on September 8, 2011 by Papillon
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashingly entertaining character thriller
Terrific character study/thriller about plain looking deaf business woman and her involvement
with a sexy small time gangster. Read more
Published on July 10, 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Audiard in progress!
Jacques Audiard (The prophet) is actually one of the most qualified exponents of the French Cinema that has emerged with explossive vigor after the early nineties. Read more
Published on June 2, 2011 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Rated "97% Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes -- It's not just me.
This is a 5-star film, starring two César-award winners in a César-award-winning screenplay (directed by a later winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes). Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by phreejax
2.0 out of 5 stars Partially disabled lonely heart turned bad girl joins forces with...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Carla is a partially deaf woman who works in an office at a real estate firm in Paris. Read more
Published on May 5, 2011 by Turfseer
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