''[[AllLowercaseLetters sex, lies, and videotape]]'' is a 1989 movie that marked the directorial debut of Creator/StevenSoderbergh. It launched the careers of Andie Macdowell and Creator/JamesSpader, but is most notable for [[KillerApp revolutionizing the indie film industry]], putting the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival in the public awareness. The screenplay was nominated for an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward.

The movie tells the story of an unhappily married couple, up-and-coming lawyer John (Peter Gallagher) and sweet, sexually repressed Ann (Macdowell). John's having a torrid affair with Ann's sister, extroverted Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). Matters are complicated with the arrival of Graham (Spader), an old college friend of John's, a mysterious and sensitive man who collects interviews of women about their sexual experiences.

!!This movie contains examples of:

* ADateWithRosiePalms: Watching the sex interviews is how Graham gets off. Also, several women masturbate for him, including Cynthia.
* {{Adorkable}}: Graham has little to no social filter, and both Ann and Cynthia refer to him as being weird or strange (and this is before his hobby is revealed). [[spoiler:His lack of a social filter is because he's a recovering pathological liar, so he always tells the truth.]]
* {{Anorgasmia}}: The story starts off with Ann Bishop Mullany having never had an orgasm with her current partner.
* CannotTellALie: Graham doesn't lie. [[spoiler:This is because he's a recovering pathological liar.]]
* CantHaveSexEver: Graham feels he's in this situation when he comes to stay with Ann and John.
* CasanovaWannabe: The guy who's constantly hitting on Cynthia in her bar.
* CelibateHero: As part of his guilt over how he used to treat people, Graham tries to avoid getting close enough to a woman to the point that sex is a realistic possibility. The videotape interviews about sexual experiences are as close as he has been to actual sex for several years.
* DeadpanSnarker: The CasanovaWannabe barfly usually uses this technique to hit on Cynthia.
* DeepSouth: The film takes place in Baton Rouge, LA.
* DidTheyOrDidntThey: It's left up to the viewer to decide whether or not Graham had sex with Ann after his video confession.
* DontYouDarePityMe: Graham has this reaction when Ann turns the camera back onto him.
* DullEyesOfUnhappiness: Both Graham and Ann have this going on.
* DysfunctionJunction
* EvilLawyerJoke: Lawyers as the lowest life form on Earth.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Completely and famously inverted. The hero and the heroine have dysfunctional sex lives. The antagonists have lots of great sex.
** Subverted in that Ann reveals during her video confession that John was never really that pleasing for her.
* HollywoodPersonalityDisorders: Graham was at one time (in the backstory) confident and hurtful (implied to have been something like a {{narcissist}}), but in his past had a HeelRealization leading to [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone intense guilt]]. The result was a HeelFaceTurn that left him [[TheAtoner extremely afraid to even give himself the chance to hurt people]]. His actions after that, including when the film takes place, somewhat approximate Avoidant Personality Disorder, brought on by guilt. [[spoiler:He appears to end up cured at the end by ThePowerOfLove.]]
* {{Jerkass}}: John
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: Graham is impotent.
* MySensorsIndicateYouWantToTapThat: Without even meeting him, Cynthia seems to immediately catches onto the fact that Ann is attracted to Graham.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: At different times, Laura San Giacomo's drawl wavers from either nonexistent[[note]]but at least without betraying her native Hoboken accent[[/note]] to a little overdone, at least compared to Andie [=McDowell=]'s consistent use of her own South Carolina accent.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Graham and John, respectively. They used to be more alike in college, but diverged wildly.
* SexIsInteresting
* SexlessMarriage: What John and Ann's marriage has come to.
* SexWithTheEx: Graham believes this will bring him some closure. Ann sees this as ridiculous and calls him out on it.
* SiblingRivalry: Good girl Ann versus slutty Cynthia.
* StepfordSmiler: Ann.
* TroubledButCute: Graham.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between Ann and Graham, provided you think that they don't have sex after his video confession.
* YouNeedToGetLaid: Ann.