Sex, Lies, And Videotape (1989) Review


Sex, Lies, And Videotape (1989)

Directed & Written by Steven Soderbergh

Starring: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo

Running time: 100 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
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.


My Opinion:

This should probably be one of my mini-reviews with a couple of other movies but I’ve not had time to write anything for the blog yet this week so… here’s just one quickie! And I guess you can take that in a dirty way since I’m talking about yet another movie where James Spader is being a kinky bastard. What’s with that guy?!


Look at that awesome 1989 hair…

I didn’t see Sex, Lies, And Videotape at the time. I have to say that it looks SO late 80s/early 90s now. Especially Andie MacDowell’s clothes! What an ugly time (but I’ll always love that time as I was in my teens then). Well, I was too young to watch this at the time anyway so I’m sure I appreciated it a bit more seeing it for the first time now as an adult. I quite liked it, actually! Although I’m not sure why. I found Spader creepy, as always, but this time there was a sexy sort of creepiness going on. Yeah. Did I just type that? Gross. I mean, I liked his character for a change. He wasn’t an asshole like in Pretty In Pink. I’ve hated him ever since that movie! But here he just seemed misunderstood, I guess, and somehow managed to be a sympathetic character despite the fact that he videotapes women talking about their sexual desires & stuff and then watches the videos over and over again like a filthy perv.



Seriously, though – Spader’s character was the most likeable person in this. I also thought Laura San “Cinder-fuckin-rella” Giacomo was really good as the dirty slut. I don’t mean that in a nasty way – I mean that these two did a good job in their roles and were the best things about the movie. Andie MacDowell was of course crap as usual (how was she in so many movies?!) but I really liked her unusual relationship with Spader’s character. Finally, we have Peter “Eyebrows” Gallagher as MacDowell’s husband. I hate this guy. Maybe he’s a lovely person in real life but has he ever played someone who wasn’t an asshole? I’m too lazy to go look. I don’t think he’d be able to play anything else – he just has an asshole face. I’m really glad he & MacDowell are probably far too busy to read my blog…. 😉 Well, they’re married to each other in this and don’t have sex – I guess they did a good job playing a married couple who really shouldn’t be married to each other.


I’m really not selling this movie to anyone, am I?? Lol. It’s definitely not for everyone but I think it was a good exploration of relationships and how we behave differently with different people. Like I said, Spader & San Giacomo were really good and I liked the story, although it was a pretty simple one. I’d even go so far as to say this may be my favorite Soderbergh movie that I’ve seen. Let’s see… I’ve not seen a lot. I thought Side Effects was pretty good, Magic Mike sucked ass BIG TIME, Erin Brockovich was overrated, Out Of Sight was underrated, The Limey was okay, and Contagion was meh. Oh yeah – I forgot about Ocean’s Eleven! That was fun & I remember really enjoying it but I’ve not watched it since, so…. Yeah, I’ll say that Sex, Lies, And Videotape is actually my favorite Soderbergh film that I’ve seen. And mullet-head Spader was kind of creepy sexy.

That was a fairly long quickie. Here’s my rating!

My Rating: 7/10


Check out the Polish poster for this:


30 thoughts on “Sex, Lies, And Videotape (1989) Review

  1. there is so much I can say abt you calling this a quickie, but i’ll leave all the innuendo to myself. I saw this once years ago, but truly didn’t find it memorable enough (despite the title and subject matter)

    • Thanks! 🙂 Yeah – it’s certainly not going to be a favorite of mine or anything. I guess I’ve just never really loved any of Soderbergh’s films that much.

      • I’d recommend Traffic if you haven’t already seen it because it’s a really gripping, well-acted and terrifically directed film. I love Ocean’s 11 as well but I agree that he’s made some forgettable films as well.

  2. I haven’t seen this movie in ages! I was a freshman in college when it came out and I remember the intense buzz as the movie came out of Sundance. I ended up seeing it at the student center theater and was just blown away. Sex Lies and Videotape established all these great expectations for Soderbergh and then he just kind of went away for a while. Then, just when everyone had written him off, he came back and became one of the best directors working today. But when I think about Sex, Lies and Videotape, I think of the early days of the 90’s indie period which was just a Golden Age.

    Which reminds me… last time we discussed the 90’s you indicated that you lacked appreciation for them because you were old. And yet, you were a teen in 1989 which means I am older than you. What gives?! 😉

    • And what’s even MORE confusing is that I’m only 21 now! 😉 Okay – so I was still a teen in the early 90s but I still hate that decade for the most part. The early 90s were better than the mid & late 90s, though. 🙂 As for Soderbergh, I don’t think I’m a fan overall but I did think this one was pretty good! Wasn’t sure what to expect seeing it this many years later….

      • I dunno. 1994 was a great year in film. That’s mid-nineties, right? And 1999 was another terrific year. That’s as late 90’s as you can get. Sex, Lies and Videotape was part of the early 90’s indie movement that I always think about when I remember the decade. To me, that alone made the 90’s better than the decades that book-ended it.

        Not a Soderbergh fan? Blasphemy! 😉

        I guess I’ll let that one slide. But reconsider the decade. It was a great one!

      • Lol. Well…. I guess one of my favorites is from 1994 (The Shawshank Redemption). 😉 But… But… 90’s music mostly sucked! lol. Okay, some good things came out of that decade but I’ll always love the 70s & 80s more. And maybe the 60s. 🙂

      • Musically, you may be right. I was pretty oblivious to music in the 90’s. But it was a great decade for movies. 94 was such a great year that Shawshank wasn’t even a frontrunner at the Oscars. There were so many great movies that year that Shawshank got overlooked!

      • Oh, believe me – I’m still angry about those Oscars. 😉 Shawshank is better than Pulp Fiction plus about a million times better than Forrest Gump! (In my opinion… Lol) 🙂

      • I’ll take Pulp Fiction over both of them. But I agree that Shawshank was under-rated at the time. Today, well, I’d argue its vastly over-rated. *ducks for cover* 😉

      • If it helps I’m one of the few people who actually saw Shawshank in the movie theater. I remember I was the only one there.

  3. First time I ever saw James Spader, he was amazing in this. But Andie MacDowell!!! I have such a huge crush on her because of this movie. Great review.

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