Read Their Lips: Six Months on the Mouth of American Movies With David Denby

“The slender Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (from “Bend It Like Beckham”) has widely spaced blue eyes, slightly flaring nostrils, and a flattened upper lip—he can look pensive or brutally calculating at will.
[…]
“Scarlett Johansson wears her blond hair up, which brings out the oval shape of her face and the soft beauty of her features, and she, too, has an unusual upper lip, curved and fleshy, and a low, smoky voice.”
GAME PLAYING, by David Denby, The New Yorker, January 9, 2006.

“Chiyo, lips painted in a crimson circle, does attain a surpassing chic, but her paramount desire, which is to preserve her virginity for the highest bidder and then become the mistress of a handsome married gent (Ken Watanabe) who was once nice to her as a little girl, isn’t very attractive psychologically, and provides little that we can root for.”
BEASTS AND BEAUTIES, by David Denby, The New Yorker, December 19, 2005.

“Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Cash in the bio-pic ‘Walk the Line,’ is a remarkable-looking actor, with deep-set blue eyes, a long chin, and a scarred upper lip that serves as a nice equivalent to Cash’s crags and creases.”
RINGS OF FIRE, by David Denby, The New Yorker, November 21, 2005.

“Bill Murray has strong cheekbones, a lordly crest of hair, and thin lips that he presses together in an act that suggests self-containment more than disapproval.”
LONERS, by David Denby, The New Yorker, August 8, 2005.

Related: “Sally, who always disconcerted me because she was lushly beautiful, and in dark auburn colors, like the one model in the fashion magazine who did not conform to cliché, Sally with her soft lips and lustrous head of reddish-brown hair had never said anything that was the least bit interesting…” – Great Books, by David Denby, 1997, p. 168.

“One of Shapiro’s students, Francesca, a tall young woman with ripely rosy lips and a head of tousled hair, spoke English so well, with so little accent, that I had hardly noticed she was Italian.” – ibid, p. 238.

Matt Haber