Les Liaisons Dangereuses

  • 2004
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the innate perfection of Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses makes it essentially impervious to damage, so Josee Dayan's made-for-French-TV production, set during the 1960s, does it no violence at all. The fabulously wealthy Marquise de Merteuil (Catherine Deneuve) presides over her late...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the innate perfection of

Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses makes it essentially impervious to damage, so Josee Dayan's made-for-French-TV production, set during the 1960s, does it no violence at all. The fabulously wealthy Marquise de Merteuil (Catherine Deneuve) presides over her late husband's musical foundation and presents a face of inviolable decency to the French public. But in private, the jaded widow and her one-time lover, the Vicomte de Valmont (Rupert Everett), team up to sexually manipulate innocent victims. Valmont takes a break from breaking hearts to visit his aunt in the country, and meets her virtuous houseguest, Madame de Tourvel (Nastassja Kinski). Aware of Valmont's reputation, de Tourvel makes it clear that she's faithful to her husband, who's working abroad. The Marquise places a distress call from Paris to her favorite scoundrel: the Marquise expected a proposal of marriage from her old flame, Gercourt (Andrzej Zulawski), and is furious to learn that he's instead preparing to marry 16-year-old Cecile (Leelee Sobieski), a virginal music student. Though bewitched by Mme de Tourvel, Valmont nonetheless strikes a bargain with the Marquise: If she will make love to him once more, Valmont help her punish Gercourt by seducing Cecile. While Valmont spins his web around Cecile, the Marquise usurps Cecile's place in the heart of Danceny (Tedi Papravami), a musical prodigy close to Cecile's own age. After sweet talking Mme de Tourvel into bed, Valmont experiences a flush of true love for her. The scandal about Cecile's pregnancy derails Gercourt's marriage plans, but the Marquise makes the mistake of reneging on her bargain with Valmont, and after Mme de Tourvel kills herself Valmont feels he has nothing to lose. Updating this costume drama undermines the original's political fire, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's fails to capitalize on the sexual mores of the 1960s. But the stars look ravishing in their mod costumes and their chemistry is palpable

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the innate perfection of Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses makes it essentially impervious to damage, so Josee Dayan's made-for-French-TV production, set during the 1960s, does it no vi… (more)

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