Read My Lips: Jean-Marie Leroy
Lisa Schwarzbaum
July 10, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Read My Lips

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
115 minutes
Limited Release Date
07/05/02
performer
Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Devos, Olivier Gourmet, Olivier Perrier
director
Jacques Audiard
distributor
Magnolia Pictures
author
Jacques Audiard, Tonino Benacquista
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

As Carla, a brown smudge of a partially deaf secretary in this expertly sinister, office-as-devil’s-playground French thriller, Read My Lips, Emmanuelle Devos is the precise opposite of Stacy Edwards as the darkly attractive, hearing-impaired target of male mischief in ”In the Company of Men.” Devos (who won a César for her performance) looks truly mousy while conveying private, sullen fury; her everyday, oppressive working conditions (captured by director Jacques Audiard with slicing economy) are identifiably ordinary; and the escape she finds from her average misery is truly shocking, the opposite of victimhood. First she turns down her hearing aids to manage her rage. Then she hires a grimy ex-con (experienced thug-player Vincent Cassel) as her assistant. He can rob, she can lip-read, and Audiard contrasts their complementary skills and weaknesses (they’re both clumsy and wary of intimacy) with real originality. The attraction between these two marginal characters is complex from the start — and, refreshingly, stays that way.

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