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Cruel Intentions movie review

Cruel Intentions

The fourth movie based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Cruel Intentions is set in contemporary Manhattan.
Author De Laclos wrote the book in the 1740s aiming for a story that would cause a stir, and continue to do so after his death. In his lifetime the book was banned, which means, copied and distributed in plain covers. Since then it has remained in print, so De Laclos succeeded in his aim.

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The story is quite simple, an overindulged, privileged pair make a bet regarding the virtue of members of their social set. In this version, the pair are step-siblings, the beautiful Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the equally pretty Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe). They wreck sexual havoc in high-rent New York. Valmont is an acknowledged roue, but being a female, Kathryn must play the part of "the Marsha f**cking Brady of the Upper East Side".

In Cruel Intentions, Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon) is the teenage daughter of their soon-to-be headmaster, a girl who has recently published her reasons for 'saving herself'. Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair) is the new girlfriend of Kathryn's old beau, Court Reynolds, innocent and ignorant rather than virtuous per se. Naturally all this virtue is annoying to Valmont and Kathryn, and so the bet. Kathryn will provide sexual favours if Valmont wins, or he will hand her his beloved classic sports car.

The result is a carefully-detailed production where the young actors glory in extending themselves. They clearly enjoyed playing their parts, and watching people having so much fun is a joy.

The young cast is joined by an experienced older generation including Louise Fletcher (Brainstorm, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and Christine Baranski (Cybill, The Birdcage).

As daring as De Laclos was for his time, I think he would blush to see this updated version of his story. Me, I didn't blush. I had Last Tested: 3-Jul-2014
a great time, and you can too.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mallby Ali Kayn

Due for Australian release April, 1999
For credits and official site details, click here.
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Just the facts:

Title: Cruel Intentions (1999)
Written by: based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos De Laclos; screenplay by Roger Kumble
Directed by: Kumble
Produced by: Michael Fotrell, Neal H. Moritz
Edited by: Jeff Freeman
Director of Photography: Theo Van de Sande
running time: 97 mins
rating: MA

The Players: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reece Witherspoon, Louise Fletcher, Swoosie Kurtz, Christine Baranski
Official website cruelintentions.com
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.

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