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Sex Lie and Videotape

By dreamer28 Nov 12, 2008 987 Words
Section 3: A Summary of Research of Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Sex, Lies, and Videotape was an intriguing movie. It showcased a great cast and performances

that kept you wondering what was going to happen next. The movie was obviously being

portrayed from a Freudian perspective, which made the movie even more interesting to watch.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a movie about sexual honesty, and emotional deceit. It was

produced with a very low budget at $1.4 million, but oddly enough it won the grand prize at

the Cannes International Film Festival in Baton Rouge, La. Despite the low budget to make

it still managed to gross $13 million at the box office. Though not autobiographical, the film is

personal: Soderbergh was not a sexual interrogator, but he was in a relationship where he

behaved much like the film's adulterous husband, hurting someone he was close to.

The movie revolves around two women and two men. Each character has their own

little set of problems this eventually surfaces. In the film, a women by the name of Ann

is a repressed housewife. She has a lot of worries that she can’t seem to explain. She claims

that sex “is overrated—I think that business about women wanting it just as much as men is

crap.” But her biggest worry is over whether or not her husband, John is having an affair. The

marriage lacks any sparks plus the fact that John is having sex on a regular basis with Ann’s

sister. Later, in the movie a man by the name of Graham arrives. He is friends with John, but

the reunion doesn’t go well. Graham isn’t your typical guy; he has a weird “hobby.” He likes to

videotape women talking about their sex lives. On the tapes are weirdly clinical interviews with

innumerable women about their sex lives, which Graham uses ostensibly for masturbation, but

on a deeper, unconscious level to interrogate the riddle of the eternal feminine. Sometimes his

subjects do more than just talk—they masturbate. He has a condition that causes him from

gaining an erection in the presence of a woman. So, graham gets gratification from watching

these women. Of course, his impotence is not his problem, or is it?

In an article by Rita Kempley, she examines the movie from a satirical and even a

rational approach. “I used to be a pathological liar. … I used to express my feelings

nonverbally, and I used to scare people that I loved, Graham confesses. He’s since become so

tender a listener that women are drawn to him like kittens to cream, and his video library

is chock full of confessional peep shows (Kempley 1). Cynthia, a punky bartender, is a nut-and –

bolts hedonist who is getting even with her prettier, more popular sister—not exactly a

profound motivation, but serviceable. “The idea of doing it in my sister’s bed just gives me a

perverse thrill,” she says to John (Kempley 2). John believes in the Capitalistic ethic: As long

as you can get away with it, it’s okay. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an absorbing tale of sexual

greed and fear, love and betrayal, in which Graham’s camera becomes a central player.

“It is an intricate dance of constantly changing partners, whose connections are based on truth

self-denial and outright deception (James).” While John and Cynthia is having their own little

affair, Graham and Ann are becoming acquainted with each other. Graham had mentioned

during his conversation with Ann that he videotaped women talking about sex. This helped him

deal with his problem and thus became his personal project. Ann sees in Graham a

confusion of vulnerable and dangerous qualities. Ann doesn’t want to be like her sister, so

she makes a hard effort not to. The relationship between Ann and Graham becomes very

evident when she decides she wants to taped, but Graham is hesitant. Ann is even more

persuaded by the idea of being videotaped when she finds out that Cynthia is having an affair

with her husband. It’s Graham that brings out the good and the bad in all of the characters, but

only with the help with his camera. You can find a well-reasoned analysis of how the camera

functions in the film, allowing the characters to speak their mind and freeing them from the

bonds of polite society to talk openly. Graham makes the others face the truth about one

another and themselves. Ann is absolutely won over by him, even though she clearly has stated

that she has very little interest in sex. Sex, Lies, and Videotape is an intense film about people

with sexual problems. "People are in general not candid over sexual matters," Sigmund Freud

observed. "They do not show their sexuality freely but to conceal it they wear a heavy overcoat

woven of a tissue of lies, as though the weather were bad in the world of sexuality." In the end,

Ann and Graham are chatting on his patio, and appear to be a couple. We all live with our lies

and deceptions, whether or not sex and videotapes help bring them to

our attention. Maybe a redeemer of an unlikely sort has or will come into our lives with the

possibility of freeing us. Do we recognize him/her? Conversation is at the core of Sex, lies, and

Videotape. It plays a major role in how the characters interact with each other and how things

eventually intertwine. The argument in Sex, lies and Videotape" is that conversation is also

better than sex - more intimate, more voluptuous - and that with our minds we can do things to

each other that make sex. Of course, this argument is all a mind game, and sex itself,

is the prize for the winner. That's what makes the conversation so erotic.

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