Best Movies by Farr
Sex, Lies, and Videotape Poster
Released Runtime Category
1989 100 Drama, Romance
Director Language
Steven Soderbergh English
James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo, Ron Vawter

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

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What's it About

Ann (MacDowell) is a beautiful but repressed housewife whose slick husband John (Gallagher) is cheating on her with her fiery younger sister Cynthia (San Giacomo). When John's old college roommate Graham (Spader) arrives on the scene, his carefree way of life is patently out of step with John's and Ann's more conventional, materialistic lifestyle. In an intimate moment with Ann, Graham admits that, although he is impotent, he likes to videotape women talking about their sexual fantasies. Initially repulsed, Ann is ultimately seduced by Graham, and the power of erotic conversation.

Why we love it

Director Steven Soderbergh famously wrote this screenplay in just eight days and made the film for under two million dollars. It went on to win numerous awards, including the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and make $25 million, thereby helping to kick-start the independent film craze of the early '90s. The film earns all these accolades with an intelligent, probing script and nuanced performances. Especially noteworthy is Spader, who manages to be somewhat creepy and alluring all at the same time, and newcomer San Giacomo, who burns up the screen with her sexually charged performance. Soderbergh has gone on to direct splashier mainstream films ("Erin Brockovich," "Ocean's Eleven") but this quiet, simmering piece announced his incipient talent.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"