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Sex, Lies, and Videotape

1 rating: 5.0
Drama movie directed by Steven Soderbergh

Winner of the Palm d'Or and Best Actor awards at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival,sex, lies, and videotapetransformed the independent film industry and turned writer-director Steven Soderbergh into the envy of aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Sly, seductive, … see full wiki

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genre: Drama
1 review about Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Provocative and intense film about intimacy

  • Jul 20, 2009
This is not really a film about sex. It's about intimacy, which can be physically sexual or not. It's about the possibility of connection, of making contact, and of taking responsibility for the impact of one's life upon another. Mere "sex" becomes a surrogate for intimacy, what we search for when we are unable to be honest with ourselves and our significant others and acknowledge that our self is bound up with these others. Mere "sex" - as in the "casual" fling John carries on with his wife Ann's sister - is then a lie, in a double sense: it has him cheating on his wife, and it manifests his refusal to admit the manifest truth that his desires, his needs, are bound up with those of others.

Graham (in a brilliant performance by James Spader), has organized his life precisely to avoid the lie that John embraces. He is brutally honest with others, but to avoid any hint of deception he also refuses to be intimate with anyone. He uses the video camera as a distancing technique, creating an objective filter between himself and the women in his life - pitting them as objects of study rather than subjects in a dynamic relationship, whose parameters he could not ultimately control. Of course, his little experiment doesn't work out as he plans, and everyone in his life is affected. The story is simple and direct, the dialogue pitch perfect, the acting top notch, and the direction quite appropriate. One of my favorite films, and certainly deserving of its status as one of the most important American independent films. I also found the commentary track, in which Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men) interviews director Steven Soderbergh, to be quite fascinating. Highly recommended.

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