Rated R (language and sexual content, no nudity). 95 minutes, available on DVD and VHS.

In The Game Of Seduction, There Is Only One Rule: Never Fall In Love

A movie based heavily on a 1989 film, Dangerous Liaisons, starring a magnificent performance by John Malcovich and Glenn Close (a young Keanu Reaves and Michelle Pfieffer join the cast). The acting is not as good as the original, set in an 18th century French court, but many of the lines were taken directly from it, which gives an interesting spin on both movies. It is quite a good adaptation of it, although, as with many films, the original was better.

The story goes basically like this: Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) are stuck as stepbrother and sister after her mother marries his father. These upper social New Yorkites live in a world of reputation and sexual conquest (even though they are still in high school). Over the summer, she bets him that he can't conquer the new Headmaster's daughter (Annette Hargrove, played by Reese Witherspoon), one sworn to chastity out of virtue. The society of lies and traps begins, each spinning their own web of deceit.

My advice: see Cruel Intentions, then the original. You will appreciate the differences and elegant subtleties more. Dangerous Liaisons pulls off the setting in a French court a little better than a private Manhattan High school. Cruel Intentions (originally named Cruel Inventions) also had a sequel, Cruel Intentions 2, which I believe went straight to video (the cast is completely different).

Cast of Cruel Intentions (in order of billing):
Production Staff
  • Choderlos de Laclos - Writer (wrote the original novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses)
  • Roger Kumble - Director / Screenplay by
  • Neal H. Moritz - Producer
  • Ed Shearmur - Original Score

Sources: Cruel Intentions DVD, imdb.com, personal knowledge

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