Oh my, to be unbelievably rich and able to do nothing all day but plot away on how to impact people's lives.
In "Dangerous Liasons", that seems to be the way that Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont pass their days.
Merteuil is a femme fatale 200 years ahead of her time. She was raised to be an armpiece, a luxury for a wealthy man to enjoy and so when she became a widow, it was quite to her delight.
Now she is free to pursue numerous lovers, meddle with other's lives and still have social standing. She is revered in the social world, particularly by Madame de Volanges, a rather prissy, annoying woman who has a delicately beautiful, innocent daughter named Cécile.
Cécile is of interest however to Merteuil, as she is to marry a man who onced spurned her and despite the fact Merteuil didn't love him, she feels a lesson must be taught. Her plan is to have Valmont seduce and deflower the young woman, so that her ex-lover would not have a pure virginal woman to marry, and possibly make him deal with the embarrassment of a bastard son.
Valmont seems bored with this idea, brushing it off.
Later in the conversation he makes a bet with her. He can cause the kindhearted and faithful Madame de Tourvel to have not only a physical affair, but be unfaithful to her husband in her heart as well.
If he wins, he can have his way with Merteuil, as he has wanted.
Since the rather nosy Madame de Volanges has given de Tourvel a heads up on Valmont, it makes his plan a bit more difficult, thus he decides to proceed with Merteuil's request to seduce Cecile.
After this, a chain of events occurs that results in true love, true hate and a bit of both -and proof that one can truly expire from a broken heart.
The acting is sensational, Pfieffer was given a chance to emote and held up well against Malkovich (who in my opinion is to acting as Faulkner is to writing; he could do a dogfood commercial and it would be amazing) and Close, both veterans by this point.
What appeals to me the most in this film is how Valmont becomes a victim of his own game. There is a scene when he is about to kiss de Tourvel, pleased with her ever so gently tipping her head up to invite him to do so, and he pulls away, sadistically getting pleasure with denying her. In the end, he is undone by his love for her, she denies him as she lays ill because he broke her heart. Ultimately, he is redeemed by her love. Merteuil gets her own in a tenfold, once the toast of the town, she is now shunned for her games and in addition, loses the one man she loves because of her own doing.
The side stories of sweet musician Chevalier Danceny and Cecile and the visual feast that the settings provide, fill out the movie well without distracting a viewer.
Overall, this is an excellent film to observe acting
The Movie Data
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton, Choderlos de Laclos
Producers: Christopher Hampton, Norma Heyman, Hank Moonjean
Locations Manager: Pierre Gralhon
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The Movie Trailer
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