Read My Lips (2001) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • 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.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Carla Behm (Emmanuelle Devos) is a young woman who toils in a Real Estate office as an administrative aid and although is much of the glue that serves the success of the obtaining and development of properties, she gets short shrift from the male agents. Plainly attractive Carla has a hearing problem and can really only hear people speak when she wears a hearing aid, however she has developed the ability to read lips and much of her private life is filled with solitary time as she eavesdrops on conversations around her from afar by reading the lips of people talking. Longing for the relationship of a man Carla lives vicariously through her friend Annie (Olivia Bonamy) who thrills Carla with tales of her sexual exploits while getting Carla to take care of her child while she goes to out-of-the-way trysts with assorted male friends. When the work at the office begins to overwhelm her at the agency Carla calls on a /temp Agency to supply another administrative aid. The temp agency sends Paul Angeli (Vincent Cassel) to Carla to interview for the office aid job, and it becomes immediate clear that Paul has none of the required skills for the job as he is a recently- released criminal on parole. Carla is immediately attracted to the rough behavior of the man and hires him, and finding Paul lodgings. Paul responds with a sexual overt act but Carla rebuffs him, preferring to introduce him at a party to show her friends how she can have a boyfriend. At the real estate office one of the upper-level agents uses Carla to do all the work on a deal and then manages to steal it away from her just as she is ready to close and gain some credit to work up into a better position. Carla responds by blackmailing Paul into stealing the file and protecting her so she can close the deal and get the male agent fired. Paul is tracked down by a former associate, a crime boss who demands under physical threat that Paul work for him in his bar. When Paul agrees he finds solidarity from Carla who cooks the work records so that it will appear that Paul is working at the office. When Paul discovers a big crime deal being managed her gets Carla involved by using her lip-reading skills to gain information and ultimately find out about a large cache of stolen money.

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