Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Written in eight days on a trip to Los Angeles by first-time feature director Stephen Soderbergh, and shot in five weeks on a meager $1.2 million budget, the film tells the story of Graham (Spader), who visits old friend John (Gallager), and engages John's wife (McDowell), and her sister (San Giacomo) in his unique method of overcoming his unusual sexual dysfunction. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    Astonishing... One of the freshest American films of the decade. [4 Aug 1989]
  2. Reviewed by: Wendy Bristow
    Startling is the fact that a film so light on action and heavy on chat can be so achingly funny without having being crafted by a young Woody Allen.
  3. 100
    A movie of prodigious power and feeling that is also high-spirited, hilarious and scorchingly erotic.
  4. 90
    What "The Big Chill" was to baby boomers, the inspirational sex, lies, and videotape is to the mall crowd. It's designer soul-searching, a looking glass for a generation.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Twenty years ago, you could view early works of big-splash directors and often tell where they were coming from - or going. Yet Soderbergh and his debut project are mysteries. What can possibly come next? You won't be able to drag me out of line opening night. [4 Aug 1989, Life, p.1D]
  6. 75
    Sex, lies, and videotape discovers a distinctive, laconic rhythm right from the start, thanks to Soderbergh's taste for holding his shots just a bit longer than conventional, slick editing technique would allow. [11 Aug 1989, Friday, p.A]
  7. The first half is full of verbal and visual surprises, but the later scenes are talky and dull, as if filmmaker Steven Soderbergh had lost interest in his subject and his characters. Which would be understandable, since the story often seems more calculated than heartfelt. [4 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 2 out of 9
  1. MarkR.
    Aug 24, 2009
    One of the best films I've ever seen. almost twenty years old and has lost none of its erotic and intellectual impact.
  2. NachoC.
    Jul 20, 2009
    Wow. Soderbergh stop making big budget films, come back to writing solid screenplays and drawing the best out of actors. SLV was a fantastic film, highly recommended. Expand
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    It doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table, but provides an interesting look at sex and relationships and all the kinks in between the two. You have to give director Steven Soderbergh credit for making a movie that focuses completely on sex without having any actual sex scenes (or even nudity). It's also nice to see a film that deals with the subject matter so maturely without having to get Woody Allen involved. Collapse
  4. RobertR
    Jul 22, 2007
    Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an imposingly inherent annotation on infidelity. Its four separate protagonists share affinities in their exposure to sex, one being their reluctance to completely discuss sex as a sober topic. Though it appears that Graham is the most sophomoric of the characters, his ability to comprehend sex as a momentous and frustrating force in life is a profound revelation that permits the transcendence of his character, which deepens the dimensions of Expand

See all 9 User Reviews