28 Aug

Marquise de Merteuil (played by Annette Bening) is a bored french aristocrat who gets greatest delight when she interferes in the lives of others. She is mentor to Cecile (by Fairuza Balk), the innocent, convent-educated 15 year old daughter of her rich friend, Madame de Tourvel (by Meg Tilly). Unbeknown to Cecile, her mother has promised her in marriage to the fifty-something society gentleman Gercourt (by Jeffrey Jones) and the Marquise must now help her learn about life and prepare for the imminent nuptials. Vicomte de Valmont (by Colin Firth), another bored aristocrat, spends his time womanising around Paris and lazing about as an idle french nobleman. Just for fun, the Marquise conspires with Valmont to bring ridicule on Gercourt by ensuring Cecile is “deflowered” long before the wedding night. The Marquise dares Valmont with the task, but he is far too arrogant to take on such an “easy” target and sets his sights on much bigger challenges. But … as the scheme plays out, emotions run hot, jealousy and revenge take hold, other innocent people get involved and lives are destroyed in the process …

This is the third adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos‘ classic novel “Les Liasons Dangereuses”, which was released only a year after the more famous version “Dangerous Liaisons” by Stephen Frears. Whilst the costumes and styling are far more exquisite in Frears’ version, I find this one a much more enjoyable movie. The characters are more sociable, accessible and watchable. As you would guess by the title, the focus here is on Vicomte de Valmont, rather than the Marquise, which gives the very fresh-faced Colin Firth some great early exposure. The heaving chests, stiff bodices, desperate emotions and ruthless jealous acts are all here and this story is a good one.  The naive and totally innocent Cecile is beautifully played by Fairuza Balk, along with her deep love Danceny (by Henry Thomas). Annette Benning is marvellous as the Marquise, she looks beautiful, her body is great and her demeanour is perfect for this treacherous role – the balance of sweetness, cunning and utter revenge she portrays is very well done.  She is the best here.

Made in 1989. Directed by Milos Forman

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Movies


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