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J. Léo Gagnon,
Set in Baroque France, a scheming widow and her lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. The lover, Valmont, bets that he can seduce her, even though she is an honorable woman. If he wins, he can have his lover to do as he will. However, in the process of seducing the married woman, Valmont falls in love. Based on the same novel as "Dangerous Liaisons." Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A less sadistic version of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereruses
I think I've seen all the variations on a theme of this story, which, in turn, is a variation on the Don Juan legend. Of all of them, I like this one best.
Colin Firth is a marvelous Valmont. Firth is a VERY subtle actor. Early in the film, he pretends to be helpless in the water, unable to swim in order to elicite a response from his victim,(Tilly), but when his actions do not receive the response he expected, his face changes immediately. He is no longer the smiling, charmer, but a man furious that his plan was thwarted. These changes in expression happen in an instant. The alteration of his features is absolutely chilling.
It is, to me, far more effective to have the villian of the piece LOOK like an angel, than to look like what he really is (Malkovitch).
Annette Benning, with her delicate beauty and dimple certainly doesn't look like the scheming, sexual predator that she really is.
There is one scene in which Firth really does a virtuoso performance. He dances with four women in turn. First, he dances with his elderly Aunt. This lady still loves to flirt. He is graceful and charming and flatters her outrageously. Next he dances with his 15 year old prey. Here he cappers like a 15 year old, which delights and disarmes her. Next, Valmont dances with Benning, his former lover. Here he is remote and aloof. It is SHE who flirts with him! He withholds what she knows should be hers. THEN he dances with the woman he has fallen in love with. He has a bet with Benning that he can bed this married, pious lady. In this dance he is sensual and genuine. SHE reacts with the most rapturous expressions and movements I have ever seen on screen. Meg Tilly and Colin Firth dancing in this sequence are breathtaking to behold.
Because all of the feelings of the characters in Valmont are so beautifully acted, Firth, Benning, Tilly and Balk are all believable and because you believe in them you also feel their pain.
Each character suffers because of decisions they have made, over and above the seductions that do take place.
A marvelous film that I recommend to those over 18. There are some explicite scenes in this film that are too hot for young people.
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