7.2/10
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123 user 72 critic

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
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Popularity
3,407 ( 240)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 23 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

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Cine independiente USA

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was playing in Berlin's largest movie theaters when the Berlin Wall fell. A lot of East Germans crossing over to West Berlin went to see it, expecting Western-style porn. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

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

 
Spader is amazing!
8 November 2001 | by Aphex97See all my reviews

Spader's character was the reason I enjoyed the film so much. I could identify with him and his dilemma. It seemed he felt like a stranger in an even stranger land. Who were these humans that seem so happy in the same world he could not find happiness within? What is this life we live? More importantly, what is the point? Why bother? His great battle with existence was a philosophical one. He, like myself, felt infinite sadness over the knowledge that are no concrete answers...

The movie is also interesting because it attacks the main sexual organ, the mind. Graham while trying to distance himself from the human experience by capturing sex confessionals on videotape, perhaps unwittingly became more intimate with his "partners." Roger Ebert points out that the films' argument is that conversation is better than sex.

Personally, I think the movie is about trying to find happiness with another person. Some Modest Mouse song lyrics come to mind. "And it's hard to be a human being/ And it's harder as anything else/ and I'm lonesome when you're around/ I'm never lonesome when I'm by myself" Graham finds it hard to be a human being and live in this human world full of values that he finds strange, confusing, and most importantly unfulfilling. What do you do when your ideology and needs don't mesh in the society you live within? How does one deal with feelings of loneliness in a society that spurns him? This movie is about one man's way.

James Spader does such an excellent job as this character. In fact, great acting all around by the entire cast and excellent writing and directing by Mr. Soderbergh. Go see this movie now!


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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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