Ann is married to John, who is having an affair with her sister Cynthia. Ann's a quiet type and unwilling to let herself go. When John's old friend, Graham, shows up, all their lives change. Graham likes to videotape interviews with women. Written by
Steven Soderbergh's now legendary debut was the first his film I saw. It was in 1989, during the Moscow International Film Festival. Only later I found out that Sodebergh was 29 when he wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles and made the film for $1.8 million. His independent movie was a real hit that was selected for Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or and the best actor prize for James Spader.
The film concerns four attractive and intelligent young people. Ann (Andy MacDowell in the best role I've ever seen her) is married to John (Gallagher) but their sexual life is practically non-existent since Ann finds sex over-rated, and to simply put it, she does not enjoy or even need it. John is having an affair with Ann's sexy younger sister, Cynthia (San Giacomo) who seems to resent Ann. Enters Graham (Spader), John's college friend with the unusual hobby of videotaping women while they describe their sexual fantasies and very important skill - he knows how to listen.
I had seen many movies before "sex, lies and videotape" and I've seen plenty since but it has a special place in my memory. It was the first film I had seen that dealt with and talked about very intimate topics of sexuality, satisfaction, jealousy, sisters' relationship, marital problems and loyalty, the secret longings in all of us, and the ever mysterious nature of erotic desire with such level of honesty, openness, and intelligence. The writing, the dialogs, and the acting are superb with James Spader and Laura San Giacomo simply outstanding and Andie McDowell very convincing.
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