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Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

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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.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh
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Popularity
3,687 ( 159)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Spader ... Graham Dalton
Andie MacDowell ... Ann Bishop Mullany
Peter Gallagher ... John Mullany
Laura San Giacomo ... Cynthia Patrice Bishop
Ron Vawter ... Therapist
Steven Brill ... Barfly
Alexandra Root Alexandra Root ... Girl on Tape
Earl T. Taylor Earl T. Taylor ... Landlord
David Foil 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sex, Lies... See more »

Filming Locations:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$24,741,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film made Steven Soderbergh youngest winner of the Palme D'Or at The Cannes Film Festival, but it wasn't supposed to play in competition there. It was supposed to play the Directors' Fortnight, Cannes' section for newcomers; it only moved because another film dropped out. According to Flavorwire, even Soderbergh was hesitant about entering the festival, writing in April of 1989, "I'm convinced a huge backlash is around the corner, and where better to have a backlash than in front of the international press?" See more »

Goofs

When the sister enters the apartment, he is holding a blue dart. When he throws the dart it is red. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Transporter: The Series: Sex, Lies and Videotape (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Garbage
Written by Mark A. Mangini
Performed by Mark A. Mangini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent film!
10 February 2001 | by roger.nelsonSee all my reviews

Once in a great while a motion picture comes along that surprises me. sex, lies, and videotape is one of them. 10-years had passed between the release of this picture and the time I saw it. Then another 2-years before I decided to write about just how wonderful it is. My only regret is that I didn't get to view it on the big screen. My commentary on this film will be terse and the reason for this is I admired the film so much that I could go on-and-on about how really good it is.

The first thing I noticed about the characters of Graham and Ann is that they are drawn to each other without realizing it. During their first scene together, I could tell there was some attraction between them. Ann is a sweet, innocent, very intelligent woman who is unfulfilled, yet doesn't realize her dilemma and is, therefore, in therapy. At first I thought my instinct was wrong in this incidence, but came to realize how right I had been when Ann arose to go upstairs just to look at Graham sleeping. Neither of them have a clue as to what is transpiring between them, but their future together seems set and often that can be the best kind.

Andie MacDowell is absolutely wonderful as Ann. She owned that role.

Graham is the character in search of closure to his past, which he regrets, probably due to his new-found moral code. His attraction to Ann isn't evident to him because most men seeking a higher moral plane don't think of other men's wives in that regard. Yet he openly discusses his impotence with her in a diner while the two of them are apartment-hunting for him. It's true that they are sharing secrets, but why something so personal a nature? Ann tells Graham that she thinks sex is overrated and gives him her reasons why. So, we have two comparative strangers, who had only met the day before, discussing things about their lives that they normally would keep to themselves and it is because they are comfortable with one-another and are still unaware of the deep-rooted attraction they share.

James Spader is one of my favorite actors and turns in his usual outstanding performance.

The character of Cynthia (Ann's sister) is the opposite of Ann. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it, even though it's her sister's husband. She doesn't want him on a permanent basis -- just when she needs him. Sort of like a light switch that you can flip on and off.

Good performance by Laura San Giacomo.

The toughest character to write about is John. Here is a guy on his way up the ladder of success who lets his hormones affect his job performance. He isn't entirely to blame, because he is in a loveless marriage and he doesn't realize the fact that he doesn't hold the key to Ann's heart.

Good performance by Peter Gallagher.

Mr. Soderbergh did an outstanding job of directing the four main characters to achieve the proper mix. Without his superb direction this would have been just another film, but it is so much more than that. I look forward to more of his writer-director creations, but sex, lies, and videotape will remain one of my all-time favorite films.


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