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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.39%
Worth A Look52.17%
Average: 26.09%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.35%

2 reviews, 11 user ratings

Read My Lips
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by EricDSnider

"Deaf people are funny."
4 stars

Carla the frumpy secretary and Paul the harsh parolee have little in common, which in many films would result in an opposites-attract romance. Refreshingly, "Read My Lips" keeps that possibility in the distance, though each party certainly entertains notions of it. The focus instead is on how they can help (and use) each other to get what they want.

Director Jacques Audiard (co-writing with Tonino Benacquista) has created a unique film, if not an entirely successful one. Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) is mostly deaf but can read lips, a skill that comes in handy as she and her ruffian secretarial assistant Paul (Vincent Cassel) set out to clear Paul of some old debts via making a heist.

Their relationship is the film's focus. Carla, mousy and harried and unappreciated at the office, has rage seething beneath her surface. With Paul, the rage is out in the open, but he has goodness within him. They are able to draw on each other's strengths and vices to strengthen their own positions, all while resisting the impulses that would seem to draw them together romantically. Watch Carla wear one of Paul's blood-stained shirts in the privacy of her bedroom and see how deep the emotions run.

The acting is outstanding, as is Audiard's smooth direction, particularly in moments from Carla's point-of-view. Where the film is not as stellar is in the pace, which is sometimes intolerably slow, and in a subplot concerning Paul's parole officer, which takes up space but adds up to nothing.

Yet taken as a whole, "Read My Lips" is an engaging, erotic -- though sexless -- thriller, with elements of black comedy thrown in for good measure. The French are good at making "cinema," and sometimes they make decent "movies," too.

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originally posted: 08/29/02 16:20:58
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User Comments

4/09/06 jeanne The parole officer's subplot was jarring, but Devos and Cassel were BRILLIANT! 5 stars
8/12/05 ALDO A movie, not a film. Way to go, French, except the pointless parole officer subplot. 5 stars
6/02/04 Laura Great Movie! 4 stars
7/07/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. I don't think I "got" this movie. But the two leads were so incredible, it doesnt matter. 4 stars
4/06/03 John Bale Classy French Thriller thanks to great performance by Devos and clever script 4 stars
9/11/02 Francofile Not "Breathless," but a breath of fresh air for sure. 4 stars
9/05/02 M. Rubinstein a very well done off beat movie that has a great sense of person and place. 4 stars
9/02/02 Julian Gauld This film is superb. Great acting (esp. Devos), script and directing. 5 stars
9/02/02 Frau Zakreys Fantastic movie, you gotta see it 5 stars
8/29/02 Tamara Kiel total crap 1 stars
8/13/02 Butterbean The way these two used each other made this movie stay above the formulaic love story. 4 stars
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  19-Jul-2002 (NR)



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