My Lips (France; 115min.)
directed by: Jacques Audiard
starring: Vincent Cassell; Emmanuelle Devos; Olivier Gourmet
"I managed to see this one while I was down in NY this week, and I
was very impressed. While I found the thriller aspect kind of predictable,
and was a little confused with the subplot about the parole officer and
his wife, I loved the way the film dealt with issues of perspective - the
way the characters view the world, and even more importantly, the way they
"There is so much in the body language Devos uses to express her shame and hatred of herself early in the film, and we get to see some major changes take place in the way she carries, presents, and sees herself over the course of the film. It was such an incredibly strong performance. And the performance is augmented by Audiard's wonderful use of sound and iris shots."
"This new French, suspense film has gotten a lot of good press, and
it's well deserved. Jacques Audiard's fascinating film examines power, love
and criminal activity and what happens when all three get caught up in each
"Carla is an executive secretary in a busy office. She's nearly deaf and communicates with the assistance of hearing aids and her ability to lip read. As her workload grows, her boss suggests that she hires an assistant. She settles on Paul, an ex-convict who is hopelessly unqualified for the job, but intrigues her. It isn't long before Carla is drawn inexorably into his world.
"Emmanuelle Devos is superb as Carla. The actress conveys so much in her performance, longing, frustration, anger, hope and above all, a formidable practicality that serves her well. Vincent Cassel as Paul has both the pitiful and attractive qualities needed to draw Carla in and yet struggle with any semblance of control. It's fascinating to watch the power travel back and forth between these two characters as each tries to use the other to satisfy their needs. Audiard plays with sound wonderfully, to allow us access into Carla's world, and he does some nifty things with the camera as well. There's an odd subplot involving Paul's parole officer that seems to be completely unrelated. Ellen, Scot and I suggested a possible link to the main story, but it's really rather up to each viewer's interpretation.
"The tension builds nicely as Carla and Pete get more and more involved in both each other, and the action that carries them forward. This is a fun movie with lots of smarts. Don't miss it." 4 cats
|Bruce says: "Having
missed this film the first time around I was compelled to see it after
being enraptured with Audiard’s sensational follow-up film, THE
BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED. Audiard is a gifted filmmaker and READ MY
LIPS, a romantic thriller, is a remarkable achievement. The two main
characters are a deaf woman and the prison parolee she hires to be her
assistant at her company which is a bastion of male chauvinism.
"Emmanuelle Devos (KINGS AND QUEEN) is great as playing a passive aggressive female. In this film her character is hearing impaired and is passive because she is unsure of herself. In work and in love she proves she is no mouse as she has the strength to be the one in charge given an ounce of confidence. Seeing her transformation is one of the joys of the film. Vincent Cassel (HATE, THE APARTMENT) has a raw sexuality on screen that is enticing and illicit at the same time. He, too, goes through a transformation from creepy parolee to beefcake bartender. READ MY LIPS should be remembered as a French film where the male was actually intentionally sexier than the female lead.
"Jacques Audiard is a director who can make any scene interesting. He often creates the mood of the scene through his use of color and he also thrives on scenes that are dimly lit or lit from strange angles. Audiard edits his films well, mixing scenes with different pace. I am now anxious to see his earlier film, A SELF MADE HERO. 4.5 cats."