Dangerous Liaisons

1988

Dangerous Liaisons

Critics Consensus

Stylish, seductive, and clever, Stephen Frears' adaptation is a wickedly entertaining exploration of sexual politics.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 46,527
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Movie Info

Adapted for stage and screen several times over the past century, French author Francois Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les Liasons Dangeureuses was the basis for this Academy Award-winning Stephen Frears film. The plot is motivated by a cruel wager between the beautiful but debauched Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and her misogynistic former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovitch). The Marquise challenges Valmont to seduce the virginal Cecile de Volanges (Uma Thurman) before the girl can be wed. Valmont offers a more difficult counter-challenge: He bets the Marquise that he will be able to bed the very moral and very married Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer). In the course of carrying out his plan, Valmont is stricken with a sudden case of honor and remorse, while the Marquise becomes all the more vicious. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Glenn Close
as Marquise De Merteuil
John Malkovich
as Vicomte De Valmont
Michelle Pfeiffer
as Madame De Tourvel
Uma Thurman
as Cecile De Volanges
Keanu Reeves
as Chevalier Danceny
Swoosie Kurtz
as Madame De Volanges
Mildred Natwick
as Madame De Rosemonde
Joe Sheridan
as Georges
Nicholas Hawtrey
as Major Domo
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News & Interviews for Dangerous Liaisons

Critic Reviews for Dangerous Liaisons

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (2)

  • This incisive study of sex as an arena for manipulative power games takes too long to catch fire and suffers from a deficient central performance.

    Feb 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The creepy plot still holds a certain fascination.

    Feb 8, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
  • A sombre, manipulative affair in which the decor is never allowed to usurp our interest.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Steve Grant

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Witty, entertaining, if occasionally overripe.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • Director Stephen Frears accelerates entertainingly through Christopher Hampton's wig-and-powder sado-comedy about sexual mind games in 18th-century France.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Tantalizingly wicked -- watching it makes the color rise to your cheeks.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dangerous Liaisons

  • May 15, 2012
    A solid period piece that also works as an absorbing character study, thanks to an excellent performance from the enigmatic John Malkovich. It does suffer from an overly slow pace, but is generally outweighed by the strong script and well designed scenery. The dynamic between Malkovich and Glenn Close also left something to be desired, but there's enough there to care about both characters. Overall, it has a bit of a slow middle act, but once it builds momentum, it pays off well for the melodramatic ending. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2010
    Close gives one of her best performances here and despite some plot twists that are rather absurd, I enjoy the screenplay's mean spirited wit.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 19, 2010
    I'm reviewing this now years after seeing it for the first time. It curious how I thought this was an awesome film at the time, but on repeated viewings, I've liked it less and less. Not for the story or the plot, it's a nasty game of sexual manipulation that could be as true today as it was in the Louis period. However, now the actors really bother me, all except Glenn Close, and strangely Keanu Reeves. I still think Frears did a great job with this bunch, but it doesn't fascinate me as it once did. I've seen crackling stage productions now that put it to shame.
    Mark K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2009
    Scandalous and cunning. Marquise de Merteuil: Like most intellectuals, he's intensely stupid. 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.
    Sam R Super Reviewer

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