×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

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

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    Film Review: 'Vice'

    From Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, the leaders of right-wing Republican politics have tended to be fire-breathers (or, in the case of Reagan, a saber rattler who could make snake oil taste like honey). But Dick Cheney broke that mold. Speaking in soft terse corporate tones, with the precision squint of someone [...]

  • Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones'On the

    Why Armie Hammer Cooked for the Cast of 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to her hometown on Sunday for the New York premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic starring Felicity Jones tells the Supreme Court justice’s origin story. The 85-year-old Brooklynite received a standing ovation when she entered the Walter Reade Theater — a testament to the Notorious RBG’s rock-star status. Ginsburg [...]

  • Paul McCartney, Emma Stone Take Aim

    Paul McCartney, Emma Stone Take Aim at Bullying With 'Who Cares' Short

    Paul McCartney and Emma Stone get surreal for a good cause in the short film inspired by McCartney’s new anti-bullying song “Who Cares,” which held its premiere Sunday night at Beverly Hills’ Fine Arts Theater. In the short directed by Brantley Guitierrez (a longtime McCartney tour photographer) and choreographer Ryan Heffington, the music legend and [...]

  • Black Panther Production Design

    Netflix Isn't Killing Movie Theaters, Study Shows

    Netflix isn’t killing movie theaters. At least, that’s the take-away from a new study conducted by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group, which finds that people who go to movies in theaters more frequently also consume more streaming content. That flies in the face of the “conventional wisdom” of box office sages, who grimly ascribe [...]

  • 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Weaves Inclusive

    The Secret Power of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Is Inclusion

    In a year that gave us films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” this weekend’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” delivers one more home run for underrepresented groups in media in 2018. An animated film that takes advantage of Sony’s piece of the Marvel pie, “Spider-Verse” not only puts a mixed-race, middle-class teenager in the [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Jeff Bridges to Receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at 2019 Golden Globes

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced that Jeff Bridges will receive the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 76th Golden Globes on Jan. 6, 2019. Bridges has starred in films like “The Big Lebowski,” “Crazy Heart,” “True Grit,” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to bestow the 2019 [...]

  • Charlotte Rampling Euphoria

    Berlin Film Festival: Charlotte Rampling to Receive Honorary Golden Bear

    Oscar-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling, whose career has spanned more than 100 film and television roles, will be honored with a special Golden Bear at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. The fest will also pay homage to Rampling by screening a selection of her work, including Sidney Lumet’s “The Verdict” (1982), Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool” (2003) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content