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Overall Rating
3.68

Awesome34.04%
Worth A Look: 29.79%
Average: 17.02%
Pretty Bad: 8.51%
Total Crap: 10.64%

3 reviews, 29 user ratings


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sex, lies, and videotape
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by Chef ADogg

"By the end, you won't even be disappointed that it's not a porno."
5 stars

Steven Soderbergh's first film is a short, low budget look at four people, and the ways in which they deceive each other. It's a sort of distant cousin to "Your Friends and Neighbors," but much less reliant on shock value.

With "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," Soderbergh focuses mostly on how people use sex as a stand-in for actually being honest with each other. John (Peter Gallagher) and Ann (Andie MacDowell) are an uncomfortable couple for whom communication has become an alien concept--you get the feeling that they were never really big on conversation, and they're now both uninterested in a sexual relationship.

So John sexes up Ann's sister, Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo), while his old college buddy Graham (James Spader) gets to know Ann. The plot strings are ultimately drawn together by Graham's obsession with truth, sex, and VHS. It's quite a fascinating tale, and done well by Soderbergh; he directs his own script with a cool, detached style that says everything you need to know with a suprising lack of superfluous flash.

The performances help to keep things interesting. Put simply: This is best Andie MacDowell has ever been, the best she'll ever be. She's a lot of fun to watch with Spader, digging in to the role he was just born to play. They have really great chemistry, and their extended dialogue scenes made me think quite a bit about life and sex and the nature of honesty... Good stuff, all.

Peter Gallagher is alright, but he seems a little bit out of his league. He does "slimeball" pretty well, but I would have liked to have seen some more depth there, to get some feeling for why he was driven to commit such marital atrocities. He's paired up well with the similarly nasty Giacomo. She does an okay job, but I can't help but think of her as "that monkey-looking chick from Just Shoot Me." Pity.

So, the acting is decent, the script is sharp, and the direction strings everything together. Good. What makes the picture truly outstanding are the issues that it brings up, and the light that it sheds. It's really great to see a film where the sex scenes are more interested in intimacy than exposed flesh, and the joys of honest conversation are placed way, way over the exchange of bodily fluids.

If you're open to it, "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" will make you think. What more could you really ask for?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2423&reviewer=123
originally posted: 03/28/00 12:44:40
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User Comments

9/09/10 PAUL SHORTT INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION PIECE WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
4/29/10 name can you do thi for me, 2 stars
3/19/07 Mick Jacking-off to women talking has never looked this cool! 5 stars
11/12/06 Marcus Utterly boring drivel about boring little people in smalltown USA. 1 stars
8/22/06 Carol Baker Another romantic drama where everybody cheats everybody else. Especially Peter Gallagher 3 stars
8/14/06 Sepi53 Overrated, boring POS 1 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands Soderbergh goes on to make fucking GREAT movies, but first makes this fucking GOOD movie. 4 stars
5/29/05 Jake Pretty good 4 stars
5/15/05 Indrid Cold Quite overrated. Is it supposed to be devestatingly insightful or something? 3 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens Good indie flick 4 stars
4/09/05 Tanya Grays I like any James Spader movie 5 stars
3/31/05 Cindy Sheeks This was the film that made me sit up and take notice of James Spader. He was wonderful. 5 stars
1/02/05 Daveman The best of Steven Soderbergh;s films next to Traffic, performances are spot on. 4 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Quintessential indie flick of the next generation (late-80's/early-90's). Spader is superb. 4 stars
4/05/04 Me A POS from the start. Boring drivel, and unused T &A. An absolute waste of celluloid. 1 stars
9/27/03 Mr. Hat Insightful, mostly well-directed. Good acting and OK sexiness. 4 stars
6/05/03 pete samplist excellent character dynamics 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby A wee bit incomplete, but most of it's mesmerizing. Spader is brilliant. 4 stars
2/21/03 R.W. Welch One tends to nod off, but of what I recall.... 2 stars
4/30/02 Angela A movie that is erotic, because it makes you think about sex, without actually seeing any 5 stars
4/05/02 Scott Sumner Only thing that was gripping about this P.O.S was me gripping the exit door handle..... 1 stars
4/02/02 Roy Smith Wasted 90 minutes with four characters I grew to hate even more as the movie went on. 2 stars
4/02/02 Klute What am I missing here? 2 stars
1/10/02 Andrew Carden It's Intriguing and Very Powerful. 5 stars
10/22/01 Yasemin you have to see this movie 5 stars
7/19/01 Ryan Brilliant 5 stars
10/30/00 hbergeron hugely overratted by a good director 1 stars
10/29/00 Walter Gaede Subtle and gripping. See it more than once to catch all the nuances. 5 stars
3/28/00 JonnyAngel Awesome movie 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Aug-1989 (R)

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