Read My Lips Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 3, 2007
Superb Hitchcockian thriller with a fantastic double act in Emmanuelle Devos & Vincent Cassel, who are both excellent. The film is unbearably tense, romantic, sexy, offbeat and finally oddly beautiful. The cinematography is great, the central conceit is used to great effect (sound design is particularly effective) and the direction taught. The director, Jacques Audiard, who has gone on to make the equally impressive The Beat That My Heart Skipped, is fast becoming a personal favorite...
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2007
I really loved this movie, a beautiful yet gritty romance/thriller. One of the best movies I have seen lately. Both Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Devos gave astounding performances. Since I have now seen all of Jacques Audiard's work, it is safe to stay that this is his masterpiece, with "A Prophet" tailing close behind.
½ September 3, 2012
Solid if unspectacular character study, thriller hybrid. Audiard's unique visual tendencies (tons of handheld, extreme close-ups and edge-of-frame compositions) are on full display. The sound design is top notch.
August 9, 2012
I could (and will) watch everything Audiard directs. Get to know this guy. He's bringing French cinema back in a big way and has an entire country behind him, cheering him on, the national. He tore up Cannes this year with Cotillard. El Prophet is one of my favorite films I'm blown away I don't own.
April 25, 2008
It's strange, I never even noted the production or release years of this film and, due to a colour filter used on the cover, was under the impression it was from the 60s or 70s. Of course, it was 30 or 40 years later that it was actually made, and that results in a completely different framework for the filmmakers to start from. I felt some tingle of recognition from the name Vincent Cassel, but I couldn't place it. Looking up his credits, I'm still not sure why. Yeah, I've seen Le Pacte des Loups (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) and Elizabeth and want to see The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, but I can't think of him in any of those movies.

Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) is a mostly deaf woman working as a secretary in an office. She uses two earpieces to manage normal hearing, keeping her hair down over them out of a certain shyness about this, but is still trod upon--more likely due to her quiet demeanour, politeness and occupational position than her disability, though that remains a likely culprit as well.She reads lips--hence the title--but does primarily use her aids. When she finally faints one day at work, her boss offers to hire an assistant for her--kind of a pleasant surprise, a helpful boss with all of these disrespectful coworkers?--and she accepts this. Her friend Annie (Olivia Bonamy) mentions her very, very active sex life and re-ignites Carla's lust, leading her to specifically request a young, male in particular for the assistant's position she's been allowed to hire. Enter Paul (Vincent Cassel), a rather dishevelled gentleman with a grubby moustache who says he has come to take the position on. Immediately defensive, Carla interviews him and finds him attractive, but is wary of the fact that he has just left prison. Still, she finds herself helping him to temporary housing, new clothes and his job--for which he is horribly undereducated--leading him into a feeling of obligation, which he first mistakes for something she wants only privately and is too shocked to accept when offered. Instead, she asks for his help as an ex-thief, to regain the work--and associated benefits--that she has been denied by self-serving coworkers. Soon the two are entangled in using their respective talents to benefit the other in illicit ways, growing closer in a dark, lusty way, rather than a cute romance--though certainly there's a bit of that kind of chemistry between the two actors.

Devos is excellent in her role, showing a strong woman cowed too many times, who remains just as submissive in most situations but will take a dominant position eventually when given the tools and opportunity to take it. Paul is reluctant to get involved in illicit activities again, taking his parole seriously, with hawk-eyed parole officer Masson (Olivier Perrier) interviewing him regularly about his progress. He is drawn in unwillingly though, and Cassel manages these transitions just as well as Devos does hers, the two circling each other in a mating dance that almost seems to bear points of hostility to prove oneself to the projected mate. It's fascinating, and with a supporting cast composed primarily of unseemly characters like loan shark Marchand (Olivier Gourmet)* that manages to push and prod the two of them into increasingly dangerous territory, a movie that starts out about the social position inhabited by the disabled rapidly turns into a clever, intelligent thriller of intense suspense that uses audio cues to manipulate the audience into sharing in Carla's way of hearing the world--audio is muffled when her aids are off, and accompanied by the rustle of them being replaced when she replaces them--and brings us ever closer to her view of everything.

*OK, what is this, "Oliver Foodterm" movie? I know, I know, they're French words with those associations in English, but two in one movie?
July 8, 2007
Emmanulle Devos is excellent as the lead role, portraying a deaf women. She is riduculed and taken advantage of at work until the hiring of a ex-con helps her to extract some revenge and realize the potentional of her abililty to read lips.Emmanuelle does a great job here, her isolation apparent without it being shoved in your face. The writing and directing are both excellent. This film is near perfect, I almost gave it five stars. But there is a third story going on about the ex-con's parole officer and his missing wife. If there's any connection it is not evident.
½ January 11, 2015
Surprising and refreshing.
½ January 11, 2015
Carla is a deaf secretary in a property firm. Overworked and bullied by her male colleagues, she is asked to take on an assistant to help with her workload. Carla is insulted, but agrees and employs ex-con Paul. He's inexperienced, knowing only the life of a petty criminal, but Carla covers for him and gets him a place to stay away from the hostel he has been placed in. In exchange for her kindness, Paul agrees to help Carla gain revenge on her male bullies, progressing her career and status in the company. When it comes time to repay the debt, Carla is dragged into the criminal underworld where she joins forces with Paul to rob a local loan shark.
This is a clever character study of two very different people thrown together and how they react with each other. Emmanuelle Devos gives a great performance and subtly conveys Carla's outsider status. Great sound design showing her audio perspective as she tunes in and out of the real world. Cassel shows Paul to be the chancer he is belying confidence and machismo.
Once again a great twisting tale from Jacques Audiard directing a film that shifts from one theme to another quite seamlessly. One minute corporate espionage, next a romance, next a heist film. With this many facets, it would be easy for the film to get lost in identity, but it never does thanks to the intriguing leads.
Encore bravo Jacques. Yet to find a film of his I don't like.
½ March 29, 2009
Good story, directing, and cast.
June 6, 2013
I really love how Jacques Audiard makes movies, The way he cares about details as a viewer with the subjective close-shot. The fellow of the movie is very smooth, it's like there was no blocking and staging during the shooting. The character progression and how Carla ( Emmanuelle Devos ) changes during the movie are established perfectly, the need to change shows with 2-3 scenes. This is a second movie I saw this week that used sound effect greatly to help the story, but in this movie with not having any sound in some parts. Overall, the movie is about relation between Carla and Paul and how they influence each other...with the surprise and suspense in the plot, enjoyable movie.
½ December 6, 2012
A romantic thriller that do everything opposite to what Hollywood would do.
November 13, 2012
Good indie drama. Enjoyed the plot and the chemistry between the protagonists.
½ November 12, 2012
viewed on 14/9/04

I was feeling frustrated watching this. The main plot and the subplots did not seem to promise a neat closure. I was about to give up on this psycho-sexual thriller when in the final 15 minutes or so, everything just fell into place. It has a satisfactory wrap-up. Nothing really feels forced. It turns to be a rather smart heist film.

I can see the potential of turning this into a Hollywood box office hit.

Rating: B
Expected Rating: B
October 27, 2012
Vincent fucking Cassel
½ October 7, 2012
A superb thriller, with excellent performances by Devos and Cassel. The chemistry between those two is so growingly palpable that, in the end, it's almost explosive. Devos' character is remarkably well done; her complexity, her shyness, her longings, etc, are very compelling, thanks to he direction and sound design, which are able to show to us her "world". I really recommend it.
September 17, 2012
Great performances all around and a slow second act (and thriller typical third act) away from being an amazing character piece.
August 18, 2012
Everything is so subtle and elegantly paced
April 15, 2012
Beware of spoilers !!!
A somewhat awkward ending makes this movie no more than just bearable to watch. Two hours of plotline development were enough to develop very deep and interesting characters, but apparently not for us, the viewers, to understand what's going on with parole officer's wife, why Carla stayed in the closet during Paul's execution, how did the pub keeper killed two nasty looking guys with a knife only and so on...
October 10, 2011
not as good as a Prophet, but Read My Lips is an interesting film that benefits a lot of Audiard's direction. Also, Vincent Cassel is arguably the best actor of the past 15 years.
½ May 15, 2011
Unexpected masterpiece. Nice to see how director enjoy the process, work with details and add new layers to make overall impression even better.
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