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Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

Trailer
1:33 | Trailer
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
Reviews
Popularity
2,799 ( 153)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Spader ... Graham
Andie MacDowell ... Ann
Peter Gallagher ... John
Laura San Giacomo ... Cynthia
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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$155,982, 6 August 1989

Gross USA:

$24,741,667

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,741,667
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

Steven Soderbergh deliberately chose video as a metaphor for distance. "Video is a way of distancing ourselves from people and events," Soderbergh explained to Film Comment. "We tend to think that we can experience things because we watched them on tape. For Graham, this was an aspect of myself taken to an extreme measure. He needs the distance to feel free to react without anybody watching, which, I guess, is the definition of voyeurism, even though I think voyeurism has mostly negative connotations." See more »

Goofs

When John bursts into Graham's apartment, he finds Cynthia's and Ann's tapes in the boxes on the table. Both tapes have the same date on them, even though it is clearly implied that several days have past since Cynthia made her tape. 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 Monk: Mr. Monk Is on the Air (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

The same as you learned in Sunday School, only the exemplars are different
25 July 2003 | by csm23See all my reviews

Sex, Lies and Videotape will probably strike the average viewer as irredeemably degenerate, maybe even perverted, since voyeurism is still considered aberrant behavior. But as far as this film is concerned, that's the appearance, not the reality. Whereas the drama revolves to a certain extent around the voyeuristic masturbation of an impotent man, the heart and soul of the film is an unrelenting, hard driving psychological siege on the biggest erogenous zone of all: the brain.

This film is about sex. But it's not about the frothy swapping of fluids and feelings. It's about honesty, without which one can't have intimacy, which is to sexual stimulation what the water valve is to the hydrant. From beginning to end, we see this theme brought into focus by the dramatic contrast between two different relationships – the one based on lies and deceit, the other based upon honesty. And guess which one wins out in the long run?

In a sense, it's what your mother and Sunday school teacher taught you all along. But what makes this movie way more interesting than your mother or Sunday school teacher is the level of honesty it suggests is necessary as the basis of a healthy relationship. Ann (Andy McDowell), for example, an acceptably moral person tells the voyeuristic masturbator `You got a problem.' He replies by adding that he has a lot of problems. But, he says, `They belong to me.'

Somehow, the openness about one's problems renders their bile and poison ineffective. `Lilies that fester,' said Shakespeare, `smell far worse than weeds.'


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