John and Ann Mullany, a junior partner at a law firm and a housewife respectively, are a young, upwardly mobile couple, who most would deem to have a perfect life. Ann's outward perfection belies the fact that she is in therapy, dealing with the stress over worrying about global issues with which she has little to no control. She does not see certain things with which she does have control being problems in her life, namely her sexual repression or her disinterest in sex as an activity, that is until it manifested itself in this stress which in turn is having, what she believes, a negative impact on her marriage. What she is unaware of is that, long before her stress began, John embarked on an affair with her sister, bartender Cynthia Bishop, who she doesn't admire as being too "loud". John reconnects with a close friend from college named Graham Dalton, who, to John, appears to have lost his way in life in the years that they have not been in touch. Graham, via the method in which he...Written by
According to Flavorwire, Steven Soderbergh was inspired to stylize the title in the middle of journaling. He writes in a diary entry from New Year's Eve, 1987: "Bob [Newmeyer] said without hesitation that Sex, Lies (actually that looks better lowercase) sex, lies, and videotape is by far the best title." See more »
When John watches Anne's tape, it doesn't match what we saw when she recorded it. See more »
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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This film is dedicated to Ann Dollard 1956-1988 See more »
Yes, "Sex, Lies and Videotape" is about sex, lies and videotape. And, while the sex is mostly served in dialogue-form and not a single shot of nudity is present, there is some graphic lying and some explicit videotape. Kinky, right?
Well, not really. "Sex, Lies and Videotape" is Steven Sodenbergh's first film and it's not a bad one. It's just not entirely worthy of the praise it received, at Cannes for example. The situations in the film do create a fair amount of tension that moves the story along. But then, it'd be hard not to have some tension in a film about a woman whose husband is cheating on her with her sister, while she starts interacting with a stranger who is the husband's old college roommate and has a strange videotape fetish and may or may not be a pathological liar. (How do you believe someone who just confessed to having been a pathological liar to not being one anymore? The film doesn't really riddle that one for us.)
Clearly, these characters clash together. But it's not as heated or interesting as it was in later Sodenbergh's films like the spectacular "Traffic." The dialogues in "Sex, Lies and Videotape" range from good to incredibly awkward. But the real strength of the film is the actors. While James Spader clearly stands out - I have never seen him deliver such a subtle performance where every scene simply works for him - Andie McDowell is phenomenal, Peter Gallagher playing the scummy, treacherous husband yuppie lawyer type is great and Laura San Giacomo as the vulgar sister / lover is fabulous. Their performances make the script work, which, under normal circumstances with inferior actors would have seemed rather silly.
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