Sunday, March 13, 2011
If you were a teenager in the late 90s (like I was) chances are you caught the movie Cruel Intentions. Even as a sixteen year old viewer, the film seemed pretty weak to me. First, the character of Cecile (played by Selma Blair) is supposed to be naive, not mentally challenged. Unfortunately, Roger Kumble (the director) and Blair didn't take the time to ensure this distinction was clear. Second, and most importantly, it doesn't matter how wealthy or educated, American teenagers simply do not talk slowly and deliberately.
Despite these obvious oversights on the part of the filmmakers the movie is regrettably somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. If I come across it on television I'll watch for at least twenty minutes even though I've seen it about fifty times (thanks to a high school pal with a serious Ryan Phillippe obsession).
I've known for some time that the movie was a 'modern' take on the film Dangerous Liasions which stars Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer, but I had never taken the time to watch it even though I love each of those actors, especially John Malkovich.
Last night, my husband and I watched Red, which was decent, but left me hungry for more Malkovich. So, I downloaded Dangerous Liasions. What a delicious movie! It's slightly melodramatic, but the dialogue is razor sharp, and much more believable since we're dealing with adult French aristocrats circa 1760 instead of modern day Manhattan teens. It's definitely the kind of movie you want to watch while sipping a bold red wine and occasionally popping a piece of dark chocolate in your mouth. And Malkovich is pitch perfect! Three parts sensual and one part creepy, he was born to play Valmont! Also, I think he's the only man who could get away with hissing at someone he doesn't like.
Here's an interesting little tidbit- playing the parts of Valmont/Sebastian and Madame de Tourvel/Annette must be pretty intense since Malkovich and Pfeiffer ended up having an affair while filming Dangerous Liasions that ended his marriage, and Phillippe and Witherspoon became pregnant and were married after filming Cruel Intentions.