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Sur mes lèvres
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Read My Lips (2001) More at IMDbPro »Sur mes lèvres (original title)

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Read My Lips -- 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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Release Date:
26 July 2002 (USA) See more »
Il va lui apprendre les mauvaises manières... Elle lui apprendra les bonnes. See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
7 wins & 12 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Deft, fresh crime story adds luster to director Jacques Audiard's name See more (62 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Vincent Cassel ... Paul

Emmanuelle Devos ... Carla

Olivier Gourmet ... Marchand
Olivier Perrier ... Masson

Olivia Bonamy ... Annie
Bernard Alane ... Morel
Céline Samie ... Josie
Pierre Diot ... Keller
François Loriquet ... Jean-François
Serge Onteniente ... Mammouth (as Serge Boutleroff)
David Saracino ... Richard Carambo
Christophe Vandevelde ... Louis Carambo
Bô Gaultier de Kermoal ... Le Barman
Loïc Le Page ... Quentin
Nathalie Lacroix ... L'Employée ANPE
Laurent Valo ... Le jeune sourd du café
Christiane Cohendy ... Mathilde
Isabelle Caubère ... Jeanne
Chloé Mons ... Boubou (as Chloë Mons)
Patrick Steltzer ... Le Haleur
Philippe Wintousky ... Le chef de chantier
Gladys Gambie ... Danseuse no. 1
Maurine Nicot ... Danseuse no. 2
Keena ... Danseuse no. 3

Directed by
Jacques Audiard 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jacques Audiard 
Tonino Benacquista 

Produced by
Philippe Carcassonne .... producer
Jean-Louis Livi .... producer
Bernard Marescot .... executive producer
Jean Louis Nieuwbourg .... line producer
Alix Raynaud .... executive producer
Original Music by
Alexandre Desplat 
Cinematography by
Mathieu Vadepied 
Film Editing by
Juliette Welfling 
Casting by
Richard Rousseau 
Production Design by
Michel Barthélémy 
Art Direction by
Etienne Rohde 
Set Decoration by
Boris Piot 
Ségolène Rocher 
Costume Design by
Virginie Montel 
Makeup Department
Pierre Chavialle .... key hair stylist
Alexis Kinebanyan .... assistant makeup artist
Alexis Kinebanyan .... special makeup effects artist
Frédérique Ney .... key makeup artist
Cécile Pellerin .... makeup artist
Emmanuel Pitois .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Gwenael Camuzard .... location manager
Michael Ermogeni .... unit manager
Brigitte Faure .... post-production manager
Jean Louis Nieuwbourg .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Vincent Dachet .... second assistant director
Dominique Gerbi .... second second assistant director
Fabrice Nordmann .... second second assistant director
Serge Onteniente .... assistant director (as Serge Boutleroff)
Art Department
Manuel Mougin .... property master
Boris Piot .... set dresser
Thomas Reichlin Meldegg .... artistic collaborator
Tom Danos .... carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Philippe Amouroux .... sound re-recording mixer
Charles Autrand .... dialogue editor
Marc-Antoine Beldent .... sound
Christophe Bourreau .... foley artist
Christophe Bourreau .... sound effects editor
Matthieu Bricout .... boom operator
Matthieu Bricout .... sound assistant
Jean De Sagey .... foley recordist
Christophe Gagnot .... sound assistant
Cyril Holtz .... sound re-recording mixer
Nikolas Javelle .... assistant sound editor
Pedro Marques .... synchronization sound engineer
Gael Nicolas .... sound editor
Pascal Villard .... sound editor
Visual Effects by
Aurélien Vernhes-Lermusiaux .... trainee: visual effects unit
Rémi Canaple .... stunts
Michel Carliez .... stunts advisor
David Genty .... stunts
Yves Girard .... stunt performer
Camera and Electrical Department
Cyrille Blanc .... grip (as Cyril Blanc)
Sébastien Leclercq .... assistant camera
Jean-Marie Leroy .... still photographer
Vincent Plaidy .... assistant camera
Pénélope Pourriat .... camera loader
François Tille .... key grip
Casting Department
Laurent Couraud .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Isabelle Pannetier .... costume supervisor
Isabelle Pannetier .... costumer
Editorial Department
Mathias Duhayer .... post-production assistant
Marie-Pierre Frappier .... assistant editor
Music Department
Edouard Dubois .... music consultant
Other crew
Sophie Ba .... production assistant
Sandrine Boulet .... production assistant
Emmanuel Rondeau du Noyer .... location scout
Stephan Guillemet .... assistant location manager
Philippe Morlier .... location manager
Anne Bourlet Siguoirt .... production assistant (as Anne Bourlet)
Nathalie Vierny .... script supervisor
Henry Villain .... travelling car

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sur mes lèvres" - France (original title)
See more »
Rated R for language, violence and some sexual content
115 min | Argentina:119 min | UK:118 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:MA | France:U | Netherlands:12 | Switzerland:16 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Crew or equipment visible: When the man calls for Paul Angeli and then hangs up, Carla peers into the copy room and then hangs up the phone. As she is sitting at her desk, the reflection of a moving crane or boom mic extension is visible in the glass behind her.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in A Happy Event (2011)See more »
LellaSee more »


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37 out of 39 people found the following review useful.
Deft, fresh crime story adds luster to director Jacques Audiard's name, 30 July 2002
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

'Sur mes Lèvres' (`Read My Lips') is so focused on its two main characters it's claustrophobic, but the payoff is that we get inside their lives and stay inside for a very concentrated and interesting 115 minutes.

Jacques Audiard has crafted a unique character-driven crime movie with a fresh visual style and a compulsively watchable story. Emmanuelle Devos won the César for her performance as Carla the deaf office worker, and she dominates the movie along with the sexy, sleazy Paul (Vincent Cassel), a recently paroled petty thief. The movie is about their odd relationship -- mutual exploitation, let's call it -- and about the successful caper that results as well as Carla's newfound power at the busy property development company where she hires Paul, despite his complete lack of office skills, as her assistant. It's obvious she's lonely and looks on this as a chance to get a man, but it's also a chance to have somebody to kick around the way she's been kicked around at the office, and, when she sees the value of it, a chance to use his muscle and menace to bolster her job.

What neither of them anticipates is the way their mutual dependency and very different skills lead them into intimacy and crime -- not necessarily in that order. Audiard, who co-scripted the film with Tonino Benacquista, and who's known for the richly entertaining `A Self-Made Hero' (`Un Héros Très Discret," 1996), adopts here a very selective, liquid, often claustrophobic way of filming and editing. He uses a lot of tight close-ups, dark lighting, and fast cuts between scenes that are as rapid and unceremonious as Benoît Jacquot's in the 1998 `School of Flesh' (`L'École de la Chair'). We know we have to stay on our toes. We're expected to pay close attention and do some thinking.

We also often feel we're spying on people from Carla's point of view, as she does when she reads the lips of gossiping coworkers for herself (and later for Paul) at the office canteen, or when at Paul's prompting she uses binoculars to read lips in a gangland nightclub owner's apartment that Paul starts casing out after he's forced because of a debt to moonlight at the club. In her apartment we see her put on Paul's bloody shirt naked after he's been beaten, or try on sexy new shoes the same way, and again the camera angle is dark and close up so we only glimpse parts of her in the dirty mirror. (There's a parallelism between iris-ed images in the movie and Carla's limited hearing.) This is an intrusive, expressionistic camera, but the editing makes us maintain an alert distance as the plot moves from Carla's initially limited existence to its transformation by the explosive personality of Paul and the more and more dangerous embroilments that happen when the two become a mutually exploitive team.

We keep seeing the characters enter into yet one more new scene that we sense is risky without quite knowing why. Somehow we're detached and scared at the same time. Paul and Carla each create a world of uncertainty and peril for each other. There's a growing unease that turns into increasing excitement and danger, and finally there's Hitchcockian suspense effectively augmented by forceful cross-cutting between Carla watching the gangsters through the apartment windows after a heist and Paul manning the noisy nightclub bar, which now also has become a threatening place.

The movie has flaws. An airline ticket seems to have wings. Carla is too magically able to carry out Paul's instructions, gathered only from a few hastily mouthed words lip-read between two buildings. A subplot concerning Paul's parole officer (Olivier Perrier) is superfluous and confusing. Given that so much effective use is made of varying sound levels to convey Carla's hearing with and without her two hearing aids -- turned up, turned down, or removed -- the musical background score in non-nightclub scenes is obtrusive.

But what's strong about this movie is that it has two actors with the power to dominate the screen, and a director who works with a lot of authority and freshness in presenting his vision.

Emmanuelle Devos' characterization as the mousy but smart and persistent Carla is so rich and assured we may just take it for granted -- but the French film industry didn't, since they not only gave her the César, but did so in a year when the other contenders were Charlotte Rampling in `Sur la Sable,' Audrey Tautou in `Amélie,' and Isabelle Huppert in `La Pianiste." Vincent Cassel, who's said he's an instinctive actor, simply embodies his part: it's his prison tattoo, his sleazy mustache, his oily hair, and his tall, wiry, threatening physicality that make him both repulsive and sexy as Paul. We experience here the powerful onscreen presence that's turned him into one of the hottest young film actors in France since he starred in Mattieu Kassovitz's `La Haine' in 1995. (He was seen in the US last year in the enjoyable costume flick, `Le Pacte des Loups,' and is in a lot of new movies to come.)

People are saying this is sure to lead to an American remake with big stars. Maybe so, but it's Audiard's vision that makes the picture interesting. All the Hollywood stars in the world won't take the place of Audiard's handheld camera and mercurial editing style, or a unique talent that combines sensitivity to the indignities of office workers and parolees with the ability to reinvent film noir tradition.

Also unique -- and unlikely to survive an American remake -- is the repression of sexuality between Paul and Carla, which makes the sexual tension between them seem all the more powerful throughout this tightly constructed, economical movie.

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