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Speaking Parts


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Editorial Reviews

Haunting images and obsessive sexuality merge in the film which confirmed Atom Egoyan s status as one of the most talented directors of his generation. This disquieting and enthralling postmodern thriller entwines its characters in a dangerous web of psycho-sexual desire. Lance is a movie extra looking for his first speaking film role, and when the alluring Clara, an idealistic television writer, checks into the hotel where Lance works, he seduces her into casting him in the film she is working on. Meanwhile, Lisa prowls video stores, only interested in viewing and reviewing the movies in which Lance appears as an extra. Both the look and impact of video on our lives vibrate in this richly photographed film, so penetrating and original that it begs to be watched again and again.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael McManus (II), Arsinée Khanjian, Gabrielle Rose, Tony Nardi, David Hemblen
  • Directors: Atom Egoyan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2001
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005KCAT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,961 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Speaking Parts" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By sndskrma@swbell.net on August 24, 2001
Format: DVD
I was pleasantly surprised to see the release of this film, since it got less than it's deserved attention. The moodiness and underlying tension focus on Lance, a part-time actor/houskeeper/ prostitute trying desperately to break into the forefront of dramatic performances, but all of his efforts seem to be thwarted at every turn. His employer wants to keep him as her own personal sexual property to be doled out upon demand to customers, and Lisa, another employee at the hotel where he works has raised the level of obsessiveness to new heights, dragging other people into her obsession. Claire, a screenwriter Lance seduces into helping him to be cast in a locally produced film, has her own obsessions, and incorporates Lance into compromising his own needs with disatrous results. The performances were outstanding, especially from McManus, who portrays the effete Lance with a mixture of selfishness and torment. Lisa's descent into madness is underplayed just right, no over-the-top histrionics. The only flaw I found was the unbelievably bad wig they put on McManus for the comparison to Claire's brother's image. It must have been dreadful to acheive the desired results with the stringy locks hovering around just enough to distract his performance. But then, bad wigs pretty much come with the territory for McManus, who is also one of the lead actors on the sci-fi epic, "Lexx", currently on television, but his performances are just as spellbinding.. The Dvd comes with lovely extra goodies, especially the narration by Egoyan, which explains motivations behind each and every scene. Also contained were deleted scenes, which explained a few things not evident on first viewing. Highly recommened, but ignore the bad costumes and hairdos...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 4, 2005
Format: DVD
Speaking Parts begins, as do all of Egoyan's films, in the middle of a complex web of relationships, and part of the joy of the movie is to figure out what those relationships are as they are revealed to us in a very natural way. Lance is a hotel housekeeper/gigolo/aspiring actor and Lisa is another housekeeper who loves him. Since this love is unrequited, Lisa obsessively rents videos in which he appears, though he does not have a speaking part in any of them; at one point Lisa even defends this to another character when she asserts that "words aren't all that important". Clara is the screenwriter for a film that is being cast, and in her staying at the hotel, Lance sees seducing her as his way of taking advantage of a big break. Clara, in the meantime, is often seen viewing a memorial film of her brother at a mausoleum.

As the film progresses, we learn that Clara's screenplay is autobiographical, though Clara is losing control of the project at the same time she's mesmerized by Lance. Characters are often seen detached from others -- viewing rather than participating in life and watching people rather than interacting with them. Also, many of the characters look alike in an androgynous way, becoming more interchangeable and confusing the relationships we see.

Egoyan is one of my favorite directors. Whenever I start a film of his that I haven't seen before, I settle in for a good long while. I watch it and then watch it with the director's commentary and then re-watch it. They are that rich and rewarding, and Speaking Parts is no exception.

Extras include an excellent and rewarding director's commentary as well as stills and some interviews with Egoyan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is a prime example of 80's egosim and the human need to see the way others view you. Lisa played by Khanjian,(I think she is also Atom's wife) is a hotel maid that craves the attention of Lance a co-worker. The bulk of the movie is centered on Lance and Lisa and how they their need for attention ultimately throws them into a web of intrigue, delusions, sexual desire and ultimatley death. This is a movie that is best seen more than once, due to it's hidden meaning and dialogue. If possible I would highly recommend getting the DVD version, because there is commentary from Atom that is very helpful. F.Y.I. Micheal McManus also appears in the sci-fi show "Lexx," as the dead bun-headed assassin Kai and he also has a cameo in "Dog Park," as the waiter.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Speaking Parts" is far more than just the script for the movie. This softcover book also includes an introduction by Ron Burnett, an essay by Atom Egoyan, and an interview with Egoyan by Marc Glassman. These all lead the viewer to a deeper understanding of the complexity and artistry of Egoyan's second major film. The book is also enhanced by black and white stills as well as pages from the original script showing hand written sketches and dialogue changes. Also included is a filmography of Egoyan's films through 1993. If you've been carried away by the film as I have, you must find a copy of this book!
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