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July 7, 2009

4

sex, lies, and videotape

by Franz Patrick


sex, lies, and videotape (1989)
★★★ / ★★★★

I really enjoyed “sex, lies, and videotape,” written and directed by Steven Soderbergh, because it was able to deliver intimacy among characters that are extremely flawed and at times downright unlikable. Andie MacDowell (as the wife who is so uncomfortable about sex, she stops having sex with her husband), Peter Gallagher (as the husband who does not get any sex from his wife so he decides to get it from his wife’s sister), Laura San Giacomo (as the extroverted sister who is driven by jealousy to the point where she will get herself in situations that can potentially hurt her sister), and James Spader (as the husband’s college friend who videotapes women and their sexual secrets) all did an amazing job trying to measure each other up–what they know, what they don’t know and how they can untangle themselves from each other. This is a prime example of achieving a lot without a big budget. Instead of flashy special and visual effects, it focuses on the script and the role of psychology in these characters’ lives. The conversations felt real because what the characters say out loud are sometimes lies and we have to constantly figure out what they really mean by looking at their body languages. This film is not only about human relationships. It’s also about voyeurism, how one’s alienation with oneself can sometimes infect others, and how one can share more information when facing a camera instead of facing another individual. I think that’s very relevant today now that YouTube vlogging is such a phenomena. Some of the most popular YouTube bloggers are very soft-spoken in real life but when they get in front of the camera, it’s like they become a completely different person. This film reflected that and I was very, very impressed. This is the kind of picture that I wouldn’t mind watching multiple times because of the complex dynamics between the characters. It’s just that good and I highly recommend everyone to watch it especially those who are into character studies.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 7 2009

    Yeah, this was a fine, little movie. I’m normally not a fan of neither McDowell nor Spader, but here they both work out fine. Gallagher is still in high standing with me after ‘The O.C’, and his character in this movie was intense and disturbing (they all were, in some way). This certainly is one of the high points in Soderbergh’s career.

    Reply
  2. Aug 4 2009

    Spader is such an underrated actor, I think. I also liked him in “Secretary.” =P

    Gallagher gives me the creeps. I think his head is way too big for his body. He should do well in horror movies. lol

    Reply
  3. Aug 4 2009

    With Gallagher, it’s the eyebrows, not the rest of his head that scares me. Spader just annoyed the hell out of me in Boston Legal.

    Reply
  4. Aug 7 2009

    lol, I just had to Goggle his eyebrows! Sometimes it’s quite tame, which is a huge surprise.

    Reply

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