Cruel Intentions

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  • Topic: Cruel Intentions, Les Liaisons dangereuses, Dangerous Liaisons
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Cruel intentions

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Etude du cinéma britannique et américain

LLCE Anglais 1, Td.1

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is a 1999 American feature film (a film made for initial distribution in theaters) starring Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair. The movie is a drama film based on the 18th century French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (written by Laclos), but unlike other modern film versions of the novel (such as Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont), which are set in the France of that time, Cruel Intentions is set among the wealthy teens of modern-day New York society.

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The plot is mainly driven by a bet held between the two main characters, and it heavily involves manipulation, seduction, and love in a rich and sophisticated socially elite youth atmosphere. The film started as an independent film with a much smaller budget, it was later picked up by Columbia Pictures. The film was released on March 5, 1999.

Synopsis

They are beautiful, young, rich and try every machiavellian plan in order to conjure love conquests. The intriguing Kathryn Merteuil makes a wager with her perfidious friend and masculine double, Sebastian Valmont. Indeed, he has to seduce the honest Annette Hargrove who is the virginial daughter of the new headmaster of their school, who had written a manifesto saying she plans to wait for marriage. This statement is actually an aggression to the way of thinking of Kathryn.

So, Sebastian really wants to win the wager. But his attempt of seduction does not bring the result expected: he falls in love with the young and pretty studient...

It was later followed by two direct-to-video films (a movie which has been released to the public on home video formats before or without being released in movie theaters or broadcast on television: a prequel, Cruel Intentions 2, and a sequel, Cruel Intentions 3.

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Les Liaisons dangereuses, Laclos

Cruel Intentions takes up some aspects of Les Liaisons Dangereuses but unlike other modern film versions of the novel (such as Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont), which are set in the France of that time, Cruel Intentions is set among the wealthy teens of modern-day New York society. As for as the plot is concerned, the story deals with the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two rivals who use debauchery as a weapon to humiliate and degrade others, all the while enjoying their cruel games. If we read the plot summary of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, we notice the partially omnipresence of the references of the boo: The Vicomte de Valmont is determined to seduce the virtuous (and married) Madame de Tourvel, who is living with Valmont's aunt while Monsieur de Tourvel is away for a court case. At the same time, the Marquise de Merteuil is determined to corrupt the young Cécile de Volanges, whose mother has only recently brought her out of a convent to be married to a former lover of Merteuil. Cécile falls in love with the Chevalier Danceny (her music tutor) and Merteuil and Valmont pretend to want to help the secret lovers in order to gain their trust, so that they can use them later in their own schemes. Merteuil suggests that the Vicomte seduce Cécile in order to exact her revenge on Cécile's future husband. Valmont refuses as he wants to devote himself to seducing Madame de Tourvel. Merteuil promises Valmont that if he seduces Madame de Tourvel and provides her with written proof, she will spend the night with him. He expects rapid success, but does not find it as easy as his many other conquests. During the course of his pursuit, he discovers that Cécile's mother has written to Madame de Tourvel about his bad reputation. He avenges himself in seducing Cécile as Merteuil had suggested. In the meantime, Merteuil takes Danceny as a lover. By the time Valmont has succeeded in seducing Madame de Tourvel, it is clear...
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