sex, lies, and videotape ★★★½

For someone whose directorial voice would go on to become so distinctive, it’s surprising to revisit this and find that it’s in many ways an actor’s showcase. There are touches of Soderbergh’s editing sensibilities here and there, but mostly the acting is center stage. That includes great performances by Laura San Giacomo and Peter Gallagher, but it’s Andie Macdowell’s rendition of the lead that is really remarkable. Her beauty is so striking in this film that it’s almost easy to mistake her presence for looks, but she does have true presence, and a nuanced, careful delivery of her character’s inner struggles that is truly impressive. And also surprisingly James Spader’s performance holds up the least well; it’s earnest and mannered in ways that would become stereotypical of “indie” filmmaking.