sex, lies and videotape


“Being happy isn’t all that great.”

I laughed.

Love that line and love that it is one of Anne’s (Andie MacDowell) first lines and its to her therapist. Kind of sets up the entire movie, laying it all out and exactly what we’re in store for… Also interesting- we see all three words in the title (sex, lies, videotape) in the first 11 minutes of the movie. Anne’s amazing provider of a husband John (Peter Gallagher) is having a full-blown affair with Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo), who happens to be Anne’s sister. So wrong on so many levels and we’ve only just begun. Oh the lies…

I love how uncomfortable we are made to feel right from the get-go and for this I blame Graham (David Spader) who asks Anne what’s so great about marriage (which I loved) and then later tells her he is impotent (awkward). But previous to Graham’s arrival there was Anne’s therapist who asked her if she masturbated to which she replied that she tried but realized it was silly. This also made me laugh cause her character is so real, frank and yet innocent or maybe naive. Especially towards the end when she decides she is going to partake in Graham’s interview project. You are made to feel like a voyeur throughout the entire film, which is really interesting on a directing standpoint because usually directors want you to “connect” with the characters but in this case I felt like we are supposed to just “watch” and not really “participate.”

Though there wasn’t much “action” in this film, I really appreciated Steven Soderbergh’s approach to his first “real” film. It was quite an undertaking (for a coming-of-age drama) and thought the writing was really great: the characters were well carved out and felt genuine, the dialogue didn’t feel like it was “written lines” but felt like true conversation, and the story was just plain weird and kind of sad really. Overall, I dug it and if you like character pieces, you might too.

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