Sex, Lies, and Videotape [1989]

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo, Ron Vawter
Genre: Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 100 minutes

Winner of the Palm d'Or and Best Actor awards at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, sex, lies, and videotape transformed the independent film industry and turned writer-director Steven Soderbergh into the envy of aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Sly, seductive, and coolly intelligent, the movie explores the sexual shenanigans and personal preoccupations of its four central characters, revolving around a selfish lawyer (Peter Gallagher) who responds to his wife by having an affair with her free-spirited sister (Laura San Giacomo). But when the lawyer's college roommate (James Spader) arrives for an unexpectedly extended visit, the neglected wife (Andie MacDowell) is surprisingly responsive to his seductive hobby of videotaping women as they describe their sexual fantasies. It's his way of compensating for impotence, but the curious wife considers this a sexual challenge, and Soderbergh turns sex, lies, and videotape into a fascinating chamber piece that puts a decidedly different spin on the consequences of infidelity. Balanced on a risky and finely tuned performance by Spader, the film delivers frisky passion and emotional intrigue, and yet much of its allure is found in the exchange of secrets and the hidden mysteries of sexual desire. --Jeff Shannon

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