Sex Lies and Videotape 1989 (1989) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 100 mins Release Date: 22 Sep 1989
A MAGNIFICENT, UNDERRATED FILM THAT'S LIKE NOTHING I'VE EVER SEEN!!! (by mattymatt4ever)
"sex, lies and videotape" is a low-key drama that REALLY showcases Stephen Soderbergh's true talents. The film was made on a modest budget and is mainly dialogue-driven, yet I was deeply fascinated from start to finish. This is another film that sends out a message to all aspiring directors: You don't need a large budget to make a truly great motion picture! Soderbergh hasn't received worldwide fame until recently with the hit "Traffic." As much as I loved "Traffic" I urge everyone--who's curious of Soderbergh's work--go check out this initial <more>
effort. The element that impressed me the most was the succint, yet brutally realistic dialogue. I've never been more impressed with a film's dialogue and actually screamed out, "Now THAT'S how people talk!" The interactions between each character are so intense and down to earth, and gets the audience deeply engaged. James Spader shines in this career-making performance as a documentary filmmaker who gets his rocks off filming women talking about sex. We never know why he developed this unusual interest, but that's what's so great. And the way Spader carries his character is so subtle and powerful. His character is quiet and mysterious, and he expresses this enigmatic role perfectly with every silence, every facial gesture, every tone of voice. That's another element that I loved. Soderbergh expresses to his audience that people don't always mean what they say. And you can tell by every hint of body language. During these character interplays, you get a feel for what the characters are really thinking with their every subtle nuance. And that's what creates most of the film's tension. And of course, the film has great depth and treats its subject with the greatest of maturity. In one scene, Spader interviews this young woman who talks about her first experience with masturbation. That could've easily been transformed into something gratuitous and heavy-handed. The subjects of sex and infidelity are treated with a sense of reality, and I'm sure many couples who are involved in relationships where one of the mates are cheating will find the whole situation with Andie McDowell and Peter Gallagher haunting. Everything is low-key and some might find the rhythm slow-moving, but that's what I liked about it. It slowly unfolds and takes its time developing the characters and their situations. Many filmmakers would've taken the subject of infidelity and made it into a melodramatic soap. But Soderbergh is very patient. He never once thinks, "Maybe the audience is not interested anymore," and speeds things up. He goes at his own pace, and works with it consistently.I don't know if others will get the same effect I did out of this movie, but appreciate a film that respects its characters and respects its dialogue. Sure, I also appreciate a film with massive entertainment value, but other times I'd rather watch something with depth and realism. This is one of those films that just has a subtle energy. Looking at "sex, lies and videotape" from the outside, it's hard to explain the power of Soderbergh's masterpiece. All I say is go see for yourself! I hope you'll be just as astounded.My score: 10 out of 10
A classic case of where the mechanics of marriage become the insidious culprit to sexual indiscretion...John Millaney is the overly mortgaged white collar malcontent who is callous with his regard toward marital fidelity...He has an affair with his wife's sister, Cynthia Bishop, she is a morally bankrupt loner who resents her sister's relatively structured existence...Gram Dalton is the voyeuristic creep who preys on the dissatisfaction of married women with the seven year itch syndrome, and other disgruntled and socially misplaced women as well!! He perceives vulnerability in women <more>
to be sexually stimulating!! His ultimate undoing is his creative resolution to boredom, and this basically backfires in an absolutely horrendous way!!! Ann Millaney John's wife is torn between a perfect marriage and an emotional millennium.. She is convinced that not only does doing things her way work, IT MUST!!. It is not necessary to have all the missing pieces to the puzzle in her marriage because she realizes the ramifications of such a heinous plight!! What presses everyone's buttons? Is it kink, is it bi, or bi for the night, is it emotional nurturing?...James Spader's character Gram Dalton has a life that is based on comparative stability, everybody mostly women can expose their lewd nuances while he keeps his a secret, once someone has tampered with his quirkiness which is close to the vest, he has no ability to cope, thus, he exaggerates his mistakes!!!All of the characters in this film are hit with the grim reality that not accepting responsibility accomplishes nothing....They all engage in a form of permanent self destruction!! Being flippant about immorality has a definite rude awakening!! What seems complicated is really very simple, and the depraved intrigue of perversion merely brings out all of their most dreaded skeletons in the closet!!!! Seldom in a film is there such a precise poignancy about things that bother people that really should not bother them at all...This is what gets them into so much trouble!! Steven Soderbergh's production efforts in this film were merely a harbinger of things to come, as he has gone on to produce and direct fabulous movies "Good Night and Good Luck", "Syrianna", and "Traffic", to name but a few!! This film effectuates a noteworthy devotion to an unintentional and sordid sexual authenticity!! Sundance is a network for the non-conventional.."Sex Lies and Videotape" is testament to the fact that what appears gray flannel is not always the panacea people would like to believe it to be!! Marital upheaval is all about emotional affliction in this movie. Latent reactions are a manifestation of psychological insecurity. You are never going to get what you want out of a relationship because you don't know what that is!! This was the summon substance of what the film "Sex Lies and Videotape" was all about!! This film had a personal dedication to it as well!!A very well made film, I give it 5 stars!!!
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 <more>
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!
a terrific, slowly unfolding debut with sublime performances (by Quinoa1984)
Steven Soderbergh, as observed by other reviewers and critics, did take inspiration from the kinds of films Eric Rohmer's been making for decades. These kinds of films, as Sex, Lies, and Videotape is at its core, about people in morality crises, and how they get out of them or linger with how they act is the point. Some people may not like the film, therefore, as nothing incredibly outrageous or spectacular will occur. For all the attention Soderbergh received Golden Palm, Independent Spirits, Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, immediate recognition , he's made a small film, and <more>
it's not as ambitious as some of his later, greater works like Out of Sight and Traffic. But as a revealing, intimate character study, with an often clever and controlled mis-en-scene, Soderbergh shows his skills were already honed at twenty-six.Without good acting the film would be like a hopeless rendition of a foreign film, but with the four lead performances from McDowell, Gallagher, Gia Como, and Spader his is most under-stated of the bunch for me these are as fully realized characters as Soderbergh could get. They all must've taken something about the characters in the script, because for all the flaws and misconceptions and fears these characters carry, they are human. Even Gallagher's John, who's the conniving husband and lawyer, is recognizably as he is even when he's comparatively lesser than Graham and Ann. Only one side character, the barfly played by Steven Brill, gets the film to immediately halt with uncomfortable humor. But the rest of the film, loaded with innuendo there's not one shot of nudity, similar to a Rohmer film like Chloe in the Afternoon, where the cover art of the film is rather misleading to those looking for a film with breasts and other parts and involving drama, doesn't shake its foundations until maybe the last five to ten minutes. And when it does, it does not make the film a lost cause, at least for me. Begs to be seen again, though with maybe a year or so between viewings. A-
Steven Soderbergh's now legendary debut was the first his film I saw. It was in 1989, during the Moscow International Film Festival. Only later I found out that Sodebergh was 29 when he wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles and made the film for $1.8 million. His independent movie was a real hit that was selected for Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or and the best actor prize for James Spader.The film concerns four attractive and intelligent young people. Ann Andy MacDowell in the best role I've ever seen her is married to John Gallagher but <more>
their sexual life is practically non-existent since Ann finds sex over-rated, and to simply put it, she does not enjoy or even need it. John is having an affair with Ann's sexy younger sister, Cynthia San Giacomo who seems to resent Ann. Enters Graham Spader , John's college friend with the unusual hobby of videotaping women while they describe their sexual fantasies and very important skill - he knows how to listen.I had seen many movies before "sex, lies and videotape" and I've seen plenty since but it has a special place in my memory. It was the first film I had seen that dealt with and talked about very intimate topics of sexuality, satisfaction, jealousy, sisters' relationship, marital problems and loyalty, the secret longings in all of us, and the ever mysterious nature of erotic desire with such level of honesty, openness, and intelligence. The writing, the dialogs, and the acting are superb with James Spader and Laura San Giacomo simply outstanding and Andie McDowell very convincing.
Soderbergh's Debut Film Mesmerizes (by CitizenCaine)
Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, And Videotape was all the rage at Cannes in 1989, winning the Golden Palm Award for Soderbergh and the Best Actor Award for James Spader. Soderbergh was also nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay. Despite the lurid, voyeuristic title, this film is not really about sex at all. It's about intimacy and what it takes to reach that with another person. Lies are always a barrier to that, but who would have thought that videotape would be so useful in revealing so much about people, although it actually shows little? James Spader, late of "The <more>
Practice" fame, is outstanding as the old college friend that returns to his friend's town, and stirs up the truth about each character. Peter Gallagher, currently in "The O.C.", is equally great as the lawyer, husband, who uses those in his orbit without regard to any consequences. Andie MacDowell is absolutely perfect as the conservative wife, who thinks that sex is overrated. Laura San Giacomo, from "Just Shoot Me", is also perfectly cast as the sexpot sister of MacDowell. All the actors, who weren't too well known at the time, give bull's eye performances. Rarely has any of them been as good since. Soderbergh's direction and screenplay are also responsible for the success of the film. Very little actually happens in the movie in terms of action, scene changes, and technical aspects of film in general. It's reminiscent of the many talky European films that are often very frank but where little happens. However, there is not a wasted moment in this film. Soderbergh gives us one of the most honest, mature depictions of the barriers to intimacy ever put on film. In doing so, he shows us that the characters are not free of their own ulterior motivations, even though some appear to change for the better. What is significant is that barriers to intimacy are just as difficult to face as the events that precipitate our facing them. The brief final shot speaks volumes with no dialog. ***1/2 of 4 stars.
Exquisitely crafted, honest, minimalist and an almost perfect product (by ghanti)
It is a film about relationships, dilemma, courage and more. What works in life and what does not. Honesty does and crudely speaking at a very basic level that is the message. At the very heart are the three protagonists who are stuck. The therapist is spectacularly wrong in his interpretation to the apparently frigid wife: 'If you think about it ...you are obsessed about things you have no control over'. But she demonstrates at the end that she did have the control. All she needed was a better, more 'intimate' therapist; a catalyst : Graham ; who ends up uncluttering the <more>
cheating sister in law's mind and forces the husband to confront his problems in the process. It is a remarkably optimistic film in its content and therefore perhaps slightly unrealistic.It is a film about masterful use of contrasts; the two women and the two men could not have been more opposite in every possible respect. In a way Graham is also a perfect contrast to the imperfect Psychoanalyst. This helps the director bring out the message clearly. The whole film is crafted in a minimalist way, flows smoothly and does not carry much 'garbage'! Music, camera and the narrative are almost perfect in that they are almost invisible. So are the actors, especially James Spader and to a large extent Andie MacDowell. Gallegher is probably less than perfect but very good nonetheless. Laura Giacomo portrays a rather difficult character really well. It treats the audience with respect as the message is subtle and very personal, as it should be. My only grievance is the last office scene involving Gallegher was probably unnecessary.Sex and the videotapes are incidental to the storey and perhaps misnomers therefore.It is like reading a rather well written short storey and I would recommend 'Days And Nights In The Forest' perhaps slightly more realistic and understated than this film by Satyajit Ray to those who have enjoyed this film.My rating 8/10.
Outstanding acting and dialogue; good support music (by pc95)
One of the better character driven movies out there, Sex Lies and Videotape is captivating and edgy. The dialogue is witty, sarcastic, and at times biting. It deals with the topics of fidelity and sex in a grown-up way delving into decisions, actions, and latent consequences. Especially effective was the last 20 min or so after where Ann finally comes upon the evidence. All 4 primary cast members are dynamic and complementary - they all were great in their roles. I especially enjoyed the final interview and moody music to go along with it. There was a feeling of sympathy for both characters. <more>
Sex becomes a center of discussion and thoughtfulness rather than an act or only sensuality - it is not merely for show and entertainment. There's a great dichotomy at play throughout the movie that has the 2 cheaters involved in the act while the other 2 are trying to contemplate through things. And thus a realization at the end that sex in and of itself is fairly empty and ephemeral although explosive enough to detonate social lives if not nurtured properly. Outstanding and worth a purchase.
James Spader stars as a college friend of a husband whose sister in law is having an affair. Spader videos women as they talk about their sex lives, getting them to divulge their deepest secrets to him..A good movie that takes it time to develop. 8 iof 10