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Read My Lips (2001)

Sur mes lèvres (original title)
She is almost deaf and she lip-reads. He is an ex-convict. She wants to help him. He thinks no one can help except himself.

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7 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Olivier Perrier ...
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Céline Samie ...
Pierre Diot ...
François Loriquet ...
Serge Onteniente ...
Mammouth (as Serge Boutleroff)
David Saracino ...
Christophe Vandevelde ...
Bô Gaultier de Kermoal ...
Le Barman
Loïc Le Page ...
Quentin
Nathalie Lacroix ...
L'Employée ANPE
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Storyline

Young secretary Carla is a long-time employee of a property development company. Loyal and hardworking, first to arrive and last to leave, Carla is beginning to chafe at the limitations of her career and is looking to move up. But as a 35-five-year-old woman with a hearing deficiency, she is not sure how to climb out of her humdrum life, though she is confident in her own abilities. Into her life comes Paul Angeli, a new trainee she decides to hire. Paul is 25 years old and completely unskilled, but Carla covers for him when the need arises because of his other qualities - he's a thief, fresh out of jail and very good-looking. It's a case of good meeting bad. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Don't believe everything you hear. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

26 July 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Read My Lips  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 49,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$909,354 (France) (19 October 2001)

Gross:

$1,359,133 (USA) (27 November 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When she passes out she is wearing a sweater set, she is revived by unbuttoning her blouse, but is back in the sweater set to meet with her boss. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Un heureux événement (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Zobi la mouche
(William Orbit Remix)
(N. Rota / J.M. Paulus)
Performed by Les Négresses Vertes
(c) EMI Virgin Music Publishing France & SNC LNV
By kind permission of Editions EMI Virgin Music Publishing & Delabel Editions
(p) 1991 LNV
By kind permission of Virgin France
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hitchcock With The Gloves Off
22 September 2002 | by (Albany, NY) – See all my reviews

French film directors continue to amaze with their extraordinary ability to simulate the sights and sounds of ordinary, everyday suburban life. This was readily apparent with the release early in 2002 of L'Emploi du temps ( Time Out ) , a brilliant character study of of a white collar worker's descent into melancholy after having been fired from his job. As is the penchant of French filmmakers , many scenes were shot on real streets and in public places, giving a cinema verite feel to the story , yet L'Emploi du temps also possessed an elegant look thanks to excellent camera work and some stunning location footage ( most notably a Swiss mountain retreat ). Running fairly on the heels of that masterful movie comes another impressive French production, Jacques Audiard's gritty crime caper, Sur mes levres ( Read My Lips ). Actually, to tag this film a crime caper does it a disservice because it is so much more than that. As with the earlier French release, it is an incisive character study of marginal people using their wits to get ahead in a society that has turned its back on them. In a Paris construction firm Carla, a shy, diminutive young woman sits at her desk, sequestered to an area of the office that is a major pathway to the xerox machines and restrooms.

Obnoxious coworkers use the front of Carla's desk to chat and drop off their half-finished Styrofoam cups of coffee. Partially deaf, Carla turns her hearing aids on and off at will if noise becomes bothersome, be it the drone of the paper copiers or the shrill crying of a friend's baby. When her boss calls her into the office to suggest that she hire a secretarial assistant to help her with the work load, Carla fears she may lose her job. At the employment office Carla lists the specifications she wants for her assistant (preferably male) as if she were at a Personals Agency. He should be 25 years old and clean -cut , with extensive computer and filing skills. When the agency sends over an unkempt , menacing looking young man, Carla is both shocked and intrigued. They leave the office and have lunch at a local eatery, where Carla interviews her prospective assistant. When she finds out that he has just gotten out of prison , Carla initially wants nothing to do with Paul, but has a change of heart and hires him on. Although she is basically kind toward her helper, Carla now finds herself in a position of authority and possessing a newfound sense of power. Paul learns quickly and becomes an able worker. Carla helps Paul find a temporary place to live and even covers for him when his parole officer shows up one day at the office wondering why Paul missed his appointment. During one of their lunch breaks Carla informs Paul of her hearing deficiency and reveals her ability to read lips. Later, when an avaricious coworker blatantly takes over a project Carla has been working on, a furious Carla asks Paul's help in seeking revenge on the man. From here on in Sur mes levres becomes an increasingly intense crime drama escalating into some of the most violently graphic scenes that have been shown on the screen in recent years. The screenplay borrows elements from Hitchcock, most notably REAR WINDOW, where Carla's lip-reading talent comes into full play using a pair of binoculars. There is a teasing, on-again, off-again sexual attraction between the two protagonists that culminates in a rather strange homage to NORTH BY NORTHWEST, but it works because of the considerable sexual heat that builds slowly between the two stars. That being said, what one carries away from this movie isn't so much the similarities to classic Hitchcock thrillers, although those elements are definitely there, but the pervasive view a of a modern day city (in this case Paris) where life runs the gamut from mundane workdays to a boozy, garish nightlife where sex, drugs and laundered money infiltrate the lives of several characters. Unlike Hollywood productions, this is a psychological suspense yarn where the people look like the everyday man and woman on the street, where a punch in the face or groin sounds like a sickening thud and where the office is a place to be feared. It's Hitchcock with the gloves off.


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