This takes place several years before Cruel Intentions (1999), back to when Kathryn first meets Sebastian, their sexual attraction to each other and their enjoyment in destroying the lives of their peers.
Keri Lynn Pratt
Two guys at a college prep school make wagers on seducing naive young girls, and then meet their match when they agree to see which one can seduce the most popular and devious girl who has her own agenda to everything.
A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.
Kathryn Merteuil and Sebastian Valmont are seductive, manipulative step-siblings who get what they want when they want it. Kathryn makes a bet with Sebastian: Sebastian must bed Annette, the headmaster of their school's daughter, before the end of summer break. Annette has stated that she would wait until love and marriage to sleep with a man. If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's vintage 1959 Jaguar Roadster. If Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn, the only girl he knows he'll never have. Also in play is Cecile, a naïve girl whose mother had enlisted Kathryn to help her fit in at her new school. However, Kathryn (with Sebastian's help) plans to ruin Cecile's reputation as revenge on Kat's ex-boyfriend, who left her for Cecile.
I'm writing on this movie because there is probably no bigger afficionado on this subject than myself. I've seen this movie thousands of times and must say that it is exquisite. The portrayal of Valmont by Ryan Phillippe is magnificent, and its intriguing to know that the object of his affection, Annette (Reese Witherspoon), is his real life wife. Sarah Michelle Gellar does easily the best acting of her career, not that that says too much. The story is one that has been done many times over (Dangerous Liaisons, Valmont), however, this was an excellent adaptation to this age group and these current times. The fact that the 20 somethings are portraying 17 year old kids is unnoticeable because of the great acting and the portrayal of the story. Phillippe is easily the highlight of the film with his slick portrayal of Valmont. His disregard for others feelings and emotions is ruthless. The piece is without comparison of the trend of terrible teen movies made in the late 90's-early 00-01. This is the only one that takes a serious storyline and portrays it with enough maturity to appeal not only to teens but older audiences as well. The one problem I do have with the movie is the way that Sebastian turns from so evil and wicked to this love sick kid at the end of the film. When you see the deleted scenes on the DVD, you see the original cut of the climatic scene between Valmont and Merteuil. In this scene rather than walk out in near tears, Valmont slaps Kathryn and demands her end of the bet, before he is finally denied and then leaves. This would be a much better scene than the one used. It goes along with the entire idea of the character and when he turns to a sap you feel like Sebastian is turning to a sappy wimp. The film is still an excellent piece and should be regarded as an admirable adaptation of the novel "Les Liasons Dangereuse".
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