->"''Never mind. Your face just broke the {{language barrier}}.''"
-->-- '''Delenn''', ''Series/BabylonFive''

[[quoteright:200:[[Series/YesMinister http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/facialprimeminister_2620.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:200:Actor Paul Eddington was known for his use of facial dialogues in Yes Minister.]]

FacialDialogue occurs when a character is communicating not just his emotional reactions or intense feelings, but entire reams of dialog using nothing more than their facial expressions and without saying a single word. When two characters do this to each other, it results in entire paragraphs of byplay, all perfectly understandable to the audience despite the entire exchange being silent.

Used correctly, such scenes can be as good as, or even better, than those with actual spoken dialogue.

EyeTake, AsideGlance and FascinatingEyebrow may be used as part of the FacialDialogue, but by themselves are only limited versions. Often the forte of TheSilentBob, TheVoiceless and TheQuietOne. Often featured in a NoDialogueEpisode. It is just as often used by characters who are perfectly capable of speaking, but just don't on this occasion, but in that case you should consider whether or not it qualifies instead as a MeaningfulLook.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* Takeo from ''MahouTsukaiTai'' had literal facial dialogue at times, with his thoughts being written out on his face.
* ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' has an excellent example in one episode: Kino is in the land of the people who drank nanomachines that transmitted every thought and feeling, and each eventually had to live apart from everyone. After the man telling the story finishes, Kino's pep talk causes him to realise something; he silently thanks her, and her expression clearly says, 'you're welcome'. She explains all this to Hermes to ensure we got the point too.
* Kotarou from ''Manga/GakuenBabysitters'', who rarely speaks actual words due to being a young toddler, usually communicates in this fashion.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' has Chane, [[BunnyEarsLawyer according to Claire]]. No one else can see it, but mostly they know better than to question him.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Duma, the Angel of Silence, speaks entire volumes with nothing but expressions in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''. His gestures and actions also say (and accomplish!) volumes more than his partner, Remiel, despite ''his'' almost complete inability to shut the hell up.
* The "intra-couple communication stealth mode" (between Comicbook/{{Empowered}} and Thugboy). Subtitled for the reader's sake.
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' is famed for doing this ''as well'' as having dialogue, adding a lot of depth to characters. The most famous example is when Rorschach's landlord begs him not to reveal to her children that she is a prostitute - his silent response is fascinatingly difficult to decipher.
* Peewee Friendly seems to communicate with his big brother Freckles by this means in the ''ComicBook/RichieRich'' comics.

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[[folder: Film - Animated ]]

* ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'': Gromit. Although it's a necessity in his case, since he's mute. [[CaptainObvious 'Cos he's a dog]].
* Dopey, from ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', does this throughout the entire film.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'':
** During the opening robbery, River and Zoe have a short conversation using nothing but facial expressions that goes something like, "That guy." "That guy? Are you sure?" "Are you kidding me or just an idiot? Of course I'm sure! That guy!"
** Later when River's big brother Simon mistakenly thinks that River might have multiple personalities, and asks if he is speaking to [[spoiler: [[ArcWords Miranda]]]] now. River's reply is a WhatAnIdiot glance at her brother.
* Jake, the PluckyComicRelief Sheriff's Deputy in ''SupportYourLocalSheriff'' does this a lot. It was one of the things Jack Elam, the actor playing Jake, was best known for.
* Creator/GeneKelly has a few memorable looks, including one moment during the dance scene of "You Were Meant For Me."
* Creator/AkiraKurosawa was excellent at getting this out of ToshiroMifune.
* John Cusack [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6hQx9PW20E had a deep and profoundly spiritual conversation with a baby]] using nothing but expressions in ''GrossePointeBlank''.
* ''AsItIsInHeaven'', a Swedish film, where in one scene two main characters have such a non-verbal conversation.
* Some SilentFilm stars mastered this out of necessity. Creator/BusterKeaton, Creator/CharlieChaplin, etc.
* In ''Film/AnimalHouse'', a lot of Bluto Blutarsky's "dialog" is this.
* ''Film/GoneInSixtySeconds2000'' features one character, called "The Sphinx" by the other characters, making a ''phone call'' and using nothing but Facial Dialogue to do so. On the other end of the conversation, [[RealityEnsues Memphis can't tell if anyone is actually on the line]] and asks Sphinx to [[OnceForYesTwiceForNo hit a button on the phone to indicate if he's there]].
* In ''Film/TheBrothersBloom'', Bang-Bang has only two spoken lines of dialogue, comprised of only three entire words, and yet manages to be a complete DeadpanSnarker the entire film.
* Mentioned in ''Film/AnAdventureInSpaceAndTime'', when ''Creator/WilliamHartnell'' grouses about the number of lines he has to learn. Hartnell says a director once said "Bill can do all that with a look."

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Aly and Dove manage to hold an entire conversation like this in the second ''Literature/DaughterOfTheLioness''. (Apparently it's a hereditary trait, as in the previous book Aly notes how Dove's father and stepmother are able to hold a conversation purely by facial expression. She considers it a sign of a good marriage.)
-->''"Word of the arrests reached Balitang House in the early evening. Dove, furious, came flying into the workroom as Aly met with her pack. Aly smiled at her young mistress as sweetly as she knew how. They understood each other. Dove did not need to ask if Aly had known about the arrests. Aly did not need to tell her that she had the matter in hand. The girl turned and walked out again."''
* The little girls in ZilphaKeatleySnyder's novels often give each other communicative looks, demonstrating the almost-ESP said girls experience when together. Ivy and Martha do this a few times in ''Literature/TheChangeling'', usually over the real-world confirmation of an element in their imaginary games. In ''TheEgyptGame'', April and Melanie look at each other this way when something strikes them as particularly appropriate for Egypt. Toby grouses that it's "like they have Siamese brains or something". When Pomma and Teera in the {{Green-Sky Trilogy}} do this, sometimes they actually are communicating telepathically.
* An amusing variation in ''JudgeDee'': while interviewing a possible suspect (an antiques collector), the judge passes his lieutenant as a connoisseur himself. The suspect eagerly asks him his opinion on a new piece of he has doubts on. The unfortunate lieutenant pulls off an expression of such disgust that the guy says he thought it was a fake, but he didn't think it was so obvious.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The page quote comes from an episode of ''Series/BabylonFive''. After Ivanova told Delenn that Sheridan had been "carrying on cranky", Delenn (being a Minbari, mostly fluent in English but not a native speaker) tried to look up the word "cranky", only to be given the runaround as she got shunted from one synonym to another. Finally, partway into a conversation with Sheridan, she finally got it just by looking at his rather grumpy expression.
* Simon Tam did this a lot in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', particularly with his sister. It's probably genetic.
* Almost every character on ''WhiteCollar'' is capable of pulling this trope off. Quite a lot of Neal/Peter and Neal/Mozzie interaction is entirely facial expressions.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** Christopher Judge as Teal'c was the master of unspoken dialogue.
** Parodied in a supposed "flashback" in the episode "200". While he and [[{{Invisibility}} an invisible O'Neill]] are walking down a corridor (O'Neill's location is given away by the floating coffee mug he's drinking from), O'Neill makes a comment about being invisible which Teal'c responds to with his usual stare. Since he can't see O'Neill's response, Teal'c remarks after a moment, "I assume I am staring at you [[TheStoic stoically]]."
** Gets a {{Lampshade}} in an earlier episode where Daniel describes, in his normal [[MotorMouth mile-a-minute delivery]], a non-vocal conversation he'd had with Teal'c moments earlier.
* This is supposedly what got Peter Tork selected as a member of TheMonkees. He didn't speak during his interview, just communicated with over-the-top facial expressions.
* Series/{{Merlin}} and Arthur talk in looks a ''lot'', even when they're speaking out loud. Put any of their scenes on mute and you'll get the idea and it will still be almost jut as funny.
** Merlin's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOrqOELpdIU face]] at 0:52.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGURy23xyLg This scene]] from the same episode. They have their entire conversation silently and almost leave it at that until Arthur decides to verbalize it anyway -- probably because he felt Merlin wasn't embarrassed enough.
* The "telepathic conversations" on ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Although we hear what the characters are thinking, you can still get the gist of it just by the expressions alone. They are occasionally subverted when the other doesn't get it.
** In "Bachelor Party", Robin attempts to convey an important message to Lily with facial expressions, and Lily interprets it as a request for a tampon.
** Ted and Stella agree they have to help Stella's sister who was dumped right before her wedding. Ted thinks they agreed on paying for her dinner. Stella thought that the facial dialogue was about taking her wedding venue and getting married instead of them.
** In "Doppelgängers", everyone else is having a telepathic conversation about Ted's hairstyle, and Ted's voiceover says, "What are we talking about? Nachos?"
* According to the writers of ''Series/YesMinister'', during filming Paul Eddington would deviate from the script by replacing his lines with an expression. He was so good at this that in later episodes they actually annotated the script with "[[HarpoDoesSomethingFunny Paul doesn't have to say this line if he doesn't want to]]" where they expected this to work. An exceptional example is when he finds out a minister who was about to publish some embarrassing memoirs has unexpectedly died. The brief sadness, then joy, then abrupt attempt to look sad again is something to behold.
* Used in ''EverybodyHatesChris'' While narrating, he says that his parents would try not to fight around them, but they did have their fights through facial expressions.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Allegiance", Picard is abducted by aliens for the purpose of study. When Picard turns the tables on his captors, they return him to the ''Enterprise,'' but before they leave the bridge, Picard and the crew, communicating with only subtle facial expressions, trap the aliens in a stasis field to show them what it feels like to be imprisoned. Picard makes a point of the fact that he and the crew communicated this way.
* The scripts for ''Series/{{Frontline}}'' frequently had lines in parentheses if they were intended to be implicit in facial expressions or body language.
* The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble of ''Series/{{Doctor Who}} play this trope for laughs. They are both spying on the episodes villain by looking through adjacent windows, the villian's office between them, and catch each others eye. A conversation follows using comically exaggerated expressions, lip reading and mime. The conversation ends when Donna gestures to the villian, who, it turns out, has been watching them embarrass themselves, and simply asks "Are we interrupting you?"
* Mulder and Scully of ''Series/TheXFiles'' are infamous for this ability. Already masters at the HeldGaze and LongingLook, most scenes have an embedded layer of subtext within the facial expressions. It makes their relationship look very intimate and almost make an onlooker feel as though they've walked in on something they shouldn't have.
* ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' has a good conversation between George and Izzy. After waking up with an alcoholic blackout of the night before, Izzy remembers George cheating on his wife with her, but George doesn't. Later on, George's memory comes back, and he and Izzy share an entire conversation without speaking.
* The first episode of ''Series/{{Bugs}}'', courtesy of voice-triggered bombs.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. "Hush" featured demons that steal all of the voices in Sunnydale. Although the cast sometimes uses handwriting, they also rely on this trope out of necessity.
* A classic moment in the first season of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' happens when HRG, Matt Parkman and Ted Sprague are plotting their next move against The Company. Seeing as he worked there for years, HRG lists out exactly what they're planning at this moment...and Matt asks him "[[AskAStupidQuestion How do you know this?]]". HRG simply gives him this look to which Matt replies "Point taken." Jack Coleman (who plays HRG) called this one of his favorite scenes of the season.
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'', second instalment "Mutiny" and "Retribution": Many characters exchange significant looks when they cannot talk freely. Usually it's because they are in front of their superiors, one of those is InsaneAdmiral who loses his ability to control his crew. It heavily overlaps with MeaningfulLook, but some of the conveyed messages were rather complex.
** Hornblower signals to 1st Lt. Buckland that he shouldn't interfere with crazy Captain Sawyer and that he should carry out his order to arrest all the other lieutenants, him including.
** Their Spanish adversaries and prisoners, Senor and Senora Ortega share a worried look after they were forced to the unconditional surrender. We later find out its meaning. He wanted her to pull TheVamp and FemmeFatale, and she obliged. She pretended she was interested in having sex and killed one stupid RedShirt, and the Spanish prisoners took over the ship.
* Charlie Young does this a lot in ''Series/TheWestWing''. Since he's not one of the senior staff and thus not usually a participant in the complex policy discussions, but he is always with the President, his reaction to a lot of situations and crises (petty or dramatic) is done silently.
* A ''Series/HarryAndPaul'' skit "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCD1P_P3aA Eeny Miney Minie Mole]]" had two [[TheQuestForKarla George Smiley's]] (from the [[Series/TinkerTailorSoldierSpy 1979 miniseries]] and the [[Film/TinkerTailorSoldierSpy 2011 film]]) competing to see which one should remain employed by [=MI5=].
-->'''Alec Guinness Smiley:''' Might I suggest a solution? A contest, to see which one of us looks the most disappointed with the world.
-->'''Gary Oldman Smiley:''' Whilst at the same time, suggesting a hinterland of other interests.
* The frequent use of this in ''Series/{{Eastenders}}'' is mocked by Creator/CharlieBrooker in ''Weekly Wipe'', in which he described most of the inhabitants of Albert Square as "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbTvfol4LwQ#t=1004 communicating in some sort of weird silent theatre of the mind]]".
* Gibbs' functional mute characterization on "Series/{{NCIS}}" partly comes from Mark Harmon choosing to not say his lines during the show's early seasons and react to his co-stars through facial expressions. This turned Gibbs from being merely a gruff authority figure into someone who famously has no patience for the extraneous.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* The WeirdAlYankovic song "Jackson Park Express" is about a man riding the bus who thinks he is having an increasingly detailed and bizarre conversation with the girl in the seat across the aisle from him using only this. It ends when the girl (Who probably had no clue what was going on in the guy's head) reached her stop and got off the bus.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* Shows up in [[http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp08112005.shtml this]] strip of ''SomethingPositive''.
* {{Nodwick}} has apparently gotten so good at this that he can send fairly complex messages to Piffany from a distance based on how he grimaces.
* Used extensively in ''Webcomic/TheBullysBully'' because it's a textless web comic.
* Done twice between Kirby and Dedede in ''Webcomic/BrawlInTheFamily''.
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