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3,719 Ratings

sex, lies and videotape

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
United States, 1989


Ann is married to John, who is having an affair with her sister Cynthia. Ann’s a quiet type and unwilling to let herself go. When John’s old friend, Graham, shows up, all their lives change. Graham likes to videotape interviews with women.

Our take

Steven Soderbergh has moved from the American cinema to television—the two seasons of The Knick are some of TV’s best—but his debut is a reminder of just how bracing and fresh indies were in their true heyday. James Spader and Andie MacDowell star, and Soderbergh won the Palme d’Or at age 26!

sex, lies and videotape Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1989 | 3 wins including: Palme d'Or

Academy Awards

1990 | Nominee: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Sundance Film Festival

1989 | Winner: Audience Award (Dramatic Competition)

Critics reviews

What Soderbergh gets across in sex, lies, and videotape is relationships that are naturalistic and entirely believable, not to mention entertaining. He’s also remarkably perceptive for someone only 26 years old. How can Soderbergh already have such a deep understanding of human nature and obsessive behavior? It takes a peculiar sort of mind to come up with characters this uniquely unhealthy.
April 23, 1990
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There’s no doubt that the film shows a lot of promise. The dialogue is sharp and functional, the lead actors are all good, and the direction is unusually astute about concentrating our attention on the actors and what they say and not distracting us. But in spite of these virtues, and a gift for story telling that utilizes some effective sound and image overlaps (which are especially prominent in the beginning of the film), Soderbergh’s mise en scene is not especially new or inventive.
August 24, 1989
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