Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a 1989 movie that marked the directorial debut of Steven Soderbergh
. It popularized indie movies and launched the careers of Andie Macdowell and James Spader.
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, an mysterious and sensitive man that collects interviews of women about their sexual experiences.
This movie contains examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: 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). His lack of a social filter is because he's a recovering pathological liar, so he always tells the truth
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Graham doesn't lie. This is because he's a recovering pathological liar.
- Can't Have Sex, Ever: Graham feels he's in this situation when he comes to stay with Ann and John.
- Casanova Wannabe: the guy who's constantly hitting on Cynthia in her bar.
- Celibate Hero
- Deadpan Snarker: The Casanova Wannabe barfly usually uses this technique to hit on Cynthia
- Deep South: takes place in Baton Rouge, LA
- Did They or Didn't They?: It's left up to the viewer to decide whether or not Graham had sex with Ann after his video confession.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Graham has this reaction when Ann turns the camera back onto him.
- Dull Eyesof Unhappiness: Both Graham and Ann have this going on.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Evil Lawyer Joke: Lawyers as the lowest life form on Earth.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Completely and famously inverted. The hero and the heroine have dysfunctional sex lives. The antagonists have lots of great sex.
- Hollywood Personality Disorders: 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 Heel Realization leading to intense guilt. The result was a Heel-Face Turn that left him 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. He appears to end up cured at the end by The Power of Love
- Jerkass: John
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: Graham is impotent.
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Without even meeting him, Cynthia seems to immediately catches onto the fact that Ann is attracted to Graham.
- Playing Against Type: Believe it or not, James Spader used to play snob villains. Here he is troubled, cute, and sensitive.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Graham and John, respectively. They used to be more alike in college, but diverged wildly.
- Sex Is Interesting
- Sexless Marriage: What John and Ann's marriage has come to.
- Sex With The Ex: Graham believes this will bring him some closure. Ann sees this as ridiculous and calls him out on it.
- Sibling Rivalry: Good girl Ann versus slutty Cynthia.
- Stepford Smiler: Ann.
- Troubled, but Cute: Graham.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Ann and Graham, provided you're of the opinion that they don't have sex after his video confession.
- You Need to Get Laid: Ann.