Friday, July 19, 2002

Read My Lips (IMDB) (Netflix)
A French award winner, but don't hold that against it. Leading a life of very quiet desperation (she's almost completely deaf), a put-upon secretary connects with an even more hapless ex-con, and they begin to help and use each other for increasingly higher stakes. In other words, a relationship movie, but of the noir variety.

Although the secretary's lip-reading skills exist to enable a key plot point, the film also uses that as an opportunity to effectively take us into a different world (Helen Keller reportedly said that while her blindness cut her off from the world, her deafness separated her from people, which was much worse). There's an unremitting undertone of bleakness, a growing overtone of violence (sometimes bordering on gratuitous), and a secondary storyline that seems pointless even at its resolution, but at the end of the day, heart, uncompromised vision and artistic sensibility win out.