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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Read My Lips (2001)



Reviews and Comments

Read My Lips is an excellent French thriller that builds suspense through solid character development. It doesn't even feel like a thriller at first, but we're drawn in by the little details and dramas of the main character's every day life: insecure, unhappy at work, sensitive about her hearing disability. She wears hearing aids, without which she can only hear vague impressions of sounds. Some of the most effective scenes in the film present sound as she hears it, and she realizes what some sounds are just when we do.

The climax is a humdinger. It is conventionally suspenseful, yes, but it works primarily because it does right by the characters it has created, rather than, as many lesser thrillers do, throwing everything away for a barrage of action cliches.

We know, through various foreshadowing devices and by the title itself, that lip-reading will play an important role. What I wasn't expecting was how cleverly it would be employed, or how high the stakes.