Dangerous Liaisons is an adaptation to a play that’s an adaptation to a book that was so scandalous that when it was first published and Queen Marie-Antoinette commissioned a copy for her personal library she had to have it bound in a blank cover so that no one would recognize the author's name or title. In Frears’ movie version of the book, you can definitely see why. The plot twists and turns as the two main characters, Merteuil and Valmont use both the other characters and each other to get revenge using sex and love. Throughout the movie, and we assume throughout her life, Merteuil messes with peoples lives and manipulates the other characters all while maintaining a spotless reputation. However, it all comes crashing down after Valmont reveals the truth of her cruel personality to the entire city by giving Danceny letters he had from Merteuil detailing her exploits before he dies after dueling with Danceny.
The film has an all star cast of Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, and Keanu Reeves, the last one being thrown in under the term “all star” simply because of the success of the Matrix Trilogy. (Let’s be honest. His acting is terrible, and this is no exception, especially for a period piece.) It was nominated for seven academy awards and won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction, although many people were shocked that John Malkovich didn’t receive as much as a nod in his direction for his awesome portrayal of Valmont.
All in all, I liked the film, which is saying something coming from a girl who usually finds historical period pieces ridiculously boring. But then again, it may have something to do with the fact I’ll always have a weakness for anything related to Cruel Intentions in my cinematic heart.