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Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ron Vawter ...
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Alexandra Root ...
Earl T. Taylor ...
Landlord
David Foil ...
John's Colleague
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Storyline

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 Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

22 September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sex, Lies...  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$24,741,700 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Soderbergh's told composer Cliff Martinez to channel Brian Eno, the ambient-music pioneer. See more »

Goofs

When Ann asks John if he is having an affair, Ann says "alright, alright you've made your point," but her lips move out of sync. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ann: Garbage. All I've been thinking about all week is garbage. I mean, I just can't stop thinking about it.
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Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Ann Dollard 1956-1988 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doin' It: Sex, Disability & Videotape (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Garbage
Written by Mark A. Mangini
Performed by Mark A. Mangini
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User Reviews

Iced-Tea, Anyone?
14 August 2002 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Why does Graham prefer iced tea so much? He offers it to Ann when she visits him for the first time at his apartment. Does the same when Cynthia pays him a visit. When he and Ann are having their first real conversation in the restaurant there's a glass of iced tea next to him, while Ann has a glass of white wine. Besides being a probable leitmotif, it's something that, seems to me is a part of Graham's character. He comes to live in that town to get away, to find a closure to his past. He ends up providing closure to the lives of these three characters. Let's imagine a scenario sans Graham - a phase in the life of a woman whose husband is having an extra-marital affair with her sister. She's suspicious but he denies. She finds evidence to prove that he's having an affair with her sister and decides she's had it, she's leaving her husband. Do you think this might have been the conclusion of this scenario? I think not. As Ann rightly says to Graham, that she would have left her husband anyway, but the reason she's doing it now, is because of him. She thinks sex is overrated, her sister seems to believe in the opposite and here comes a man whose profession, for all practical purposes is having women talk about sex. Ann's therapist is a foil to Graham. While he dispenses his advice and listens patiently to Ann, Graham is the all important catalyst that helps her make a practical decision in her life. He also aids in her real sexual awakening. Before Graham, sex, for Ann was incidental. Now it takes on a different perspective.

One might say that in making women talk so intimately to him about sex, he sort of breaks the ice on a topic that is more or less socially tabooed. His is a presence that evokes trust in the most introverted of women, making them confide in him and by doing so have an almost cathartic experience. I think the iced tea motif of Graham's character fits in here. Beyond his trademark black-shirt, blue denim attire, it is the only other element related to him that is conspicuously stated. That's my conjecture anyway!

Needless to say, James Spader is superb as Graham. He manages to evoke many of the nuances of Graham's character by subtle, volatile facial expressions. Andie McDowell is also great as Ann. Hers is a really sensitive and touching performance. Peter Gallagher and Laura San Giacomo are both equally good. The music for this film is appropriately minimal and poignant. Great effort by Soderbergh, who I'm glad to hear has come back to his experimental film roots with his recent film 'Full Frontal'.




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