×

Dangerous Liaisons

A scandalous, often-censored literary sensation for two centuries and a highbrow international theatrical hit, Les Liaisons Dangereuses has been turned into a good but incompletely realized film.

With:
Glenn Close John Malkovich Michelle Pfeiffer Swoosie Kurtz Mildred Natwick Uma Thurman

A scandalous, often-censored literary sensation for two centuries and a highbrow international theatrical hit, Les Liaisons Dangereuses has been turned into a good but incompletely realized film.

This incisive study of sex as an arena for manipulative power games takes too long to catch fire and suffers from a deficient central performance.

Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 epistolary novel expertly chronicled the cunning, cold-blooded sexual calculations of the French pre-revolutionary upper class as represented by two of its idle, brilliant members, the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont. Former lovers, these two ideally matched players hatch schemes of deceit, revenge and debauchery.

The classic rake, Valmont (John Malkovich) at the outset is challenged by Merteuil (Glenn Close) to deflower a 16-year-old virgin, Cecile de Volanges (Uma Thurman), before Merteuil’s former lover can go through with his marriage to the exquisite adolescent.

Valmont considers this too easy, however, and instead proposes to seduce Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), a virtuous, highly moral married woman.

Glenn Close is admirably cast as the proud, malevolent Merteuil while the real problem is Malkovich’s Valmont. This sly actor conveys the character’s snaky, premeditated Don Juanism. But he lacks the devilish charm and seductiveness one senses Valmont would need to carry off all his conquests.

1988: Best Art Direction, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design.

Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Glenn Close), Supp. Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer), Score

Popular on Variety

Dangerous Liaisons

Production: Warner. Director Stephen Frears; Producer Norma Heyman, Hank Moonjean; Screenplay Christopher Hampton; Camera Philippe Rousselot; Editor Mick Audsley; Music George Fenton; Art Director Stuart Craig

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 120 MIN.

With: Glenn Close John Malkovich Michelle Pfeiffer Swoosie Kurtz Mildred Natwick Uma Thurman

More Film

  • Gerard Butler Angel Has Fallen

    Film Review: 'Angel Has Fallen'

    “Angel Has Fallen” marks the third time that Gerard Butler, as the Secret Service agent and scowling samurai cowboy Mike Banning, has had to rescue the President of the United States from an international conspiracy so cuckoo bananas that the movie barely expects you to believe it. (Actually, in the six years since this series [...]

  • Jessica

    Ninja Thyberg's Female POV Porn Industry Portrait Seduces Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  Paris-based Versatile has announced a raft of pre-sales on Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature “Jessica,” set in the adult entertianment industry in L.A. World distributors that have pre-bought the Swedish drama take in Weltkino for Germany/Austria, Xenix for Switzerland, MK2/Mile End for Canada, KTH for South Korea and Movie Could for Taïwan. Several [...]

  • Sony Pictures: 'We Are Disappointed' by

    Sony 'Disappointed' by Disney's Divorce on 'Spider-Man' Projects

    Sony Pictures has gone public over its divorce with Disney on future “Spider-Man” projects. In a rare public rebuke to Disney, Sony announced Tuesday night that it was “disappointed” over the decision, highlighting Disney’s refusal to allow Marvel President Kevin Feige to continue as a producer on the projects. It also praised Feige, who teamed [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    ‘Good Boys’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Good Boys.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.42 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Demi Lovato

    Demi Lovato Joins Netflix Comedy 'Eurovision'

    Demi Lovato has joined the upcoming Netflix comedy film “Eurovision.” Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the film with Andrew Steele, announced the news Tuesday with an Instagram post, in which he wished Lovato a happy birthday with a “homemade” cake. Following the announcement, Lovato can be seen blowing out candles on the cake next to a “Eurovision” [...]

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Film News Roundup: Rob Schneider Wins SAG-AFTRA National Board Seat

    In today’s film news roundup, Rob Schneider wins a SAG-AFTRA board seat; “Badland,” “Sorry We Missed You” and “Extracurricular” find homes; and “The Shawshank Redemption” gets a re-release.  SAG-AFTRA Rob Schneider has won a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Schneider won a four-year term [...]

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content