When Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr Emerson and son George step in to remedy the situation. Meeting... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter,
A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the ... See full summary »
Set in France around 1760, the Marquise de Merteuil needs a favour from her ex-lover, Vicomte de Valmont. One of the Marquise de Merteuil's ex-lovers, Gercourt, is betrothed to a young, virtuous, woman called Cecile de Volanges. The Marquise would like Valmont to seduce Cecile before her wedding day, thus humiliating Gercourt. Meanwhile, Valmont has a conquest of his own in mind: Madame de Tourvel, a beautiful, married, and God fearing woman. The Marquise doesn't think that Valmont can seduce Mme de Tourvel. She tells him that if he can provide written proof of a sexual encounter with Mme de Tourvel, she will offer him a reward: one last night with her. Valmont, however, will find himself falling in love with Mme de Tourvel, and facing the deadly jealousy of the Marquise de Merteuil. All along, Cecile de Volanges is used as a pawn in this game of sexual conquest and scorned love. Written by
When the novel "Les Liaisons dangereuses" by Choderlos de Laclos was first published in 1782, it was considered so scandalous that when 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 recognise the author's name or title See more »
In Madame de Rosemonde's garden, Valmont sits behind Madame de Tourvel and asks "Why are you so angry with me?" The camera then cuts to a close-up of Tourvel's face, and Valmont is sitting much closer behind her. See more »
Madame de Rosemonde:
I'm sorry to say this, but, those who are most worthy of love are never made happy by it.
Madame Marie de Tourvel:
But, why? Why should that be?
Madame de Rosemonde:
Do you still think men love the way we do? No... men enjoy the happiness they feel. We can only enjoy the happiness we give. They are not capable of devoting themselves exclusively to one person. So to hope to be made happy by love is a certain cause of grief.
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Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.
You wouldn't necessarily think that an adaptation of an albeit famous 17th century French novel would make a relevant and fascinating piece of cinema... but it does.
The first thing that strikes you is how well the film is lit and shot. The period locations and costumes are visually sumptuous and perfect. Better yet, the acting entirely matches the skill of the direction that takes its method from the theatre - emotions are conveyed by expression and not dialogue. Glenn Close gives her best performance on celluloid as the scheming Madame de Merteuil, amorally hellbent on bending everyone to her will, no matter the method or the cost, and John Malkovitch is her perfect foil as the cynical hedonistic but world-weary Valmont. Michelle Pfeiffer engages our empathy as the tortured and manipulated target of Malkovitch's desire and Close's plotting.
The film is basically a morality tale, but one that fascinates in its exposure of ego, vanity, intrigue and the war between the genders, subjects that are timeless in their relevance, despite the period setting. The storyline, which sticks faithfully to the original novel, remains compelling throughout as we watch deceits within deceits take their tragic course. Whole-heartedly recommended - take your time over it, and enjoy.
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