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Cruel Intentions (1999)



Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 78
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 40

Even in a slick package and an attractive cast, the movie succumbs to bad acting and a bad script.


Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 15

Even in a slick package and an attractive cast, the movie succumbs to bad acting and a bad script.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 434,949

My Rating

Movie Info

Kathryn and Sabastian, two wealthy, manipulative teenage stepsiblings from Manhattan's uppercrust, conspire in Cruel Intentions, a wickedly entertaining tale of seduction and betrayal. The stakes are high when the duo agrees upon a deliciously diabolical wager of sexual conquest without consequences. The pawns? The naďve Cecile Caldwell and the virginal Annette Hargrove. It's summer break, and Kathryn has been dumped by her beau, Court Reynolds, for the innocent Cecile, Desperate to get even,



Roger Kumble

Aug 3, 1999

Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (83) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (40) | DVD (16)

What's both depressing and impressive about Cruel Intentions is the profound misanthropy of its meaning.

February 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You won't be able to resist the film's ribaldry and cynicism. Kids these days!

February 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lascivious blackmailers and inveterate immoralists, these characters behave despicably, but the movie affects a tone of urbane detachment which puts sex in its proper perspective.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You sometimes have to giggle at this movie the way you do when you catch 4-year-olds playing dress-up in front of Mom's closet.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is maliciously entertaining, up to a point.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is the filmic answer to a pack of Spice Girl cards.

March 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dangerous Liaisons among rich NYC teens.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The film's cheat ending aside, this arch, ridiculous movie heaves, sweats and steams, and for the most part, it delivers what its title promises.

August 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Every bit of the original's nastiness is retained but none of its wit or elegance.

January 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

In the end, the whole shebang comes off like a bunch of snotty, rich white kids screwing each other and screwing each other over.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

First-time helmer/writer Roger Kumble starts off on the right foot, but stumbles along the way.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

[This] 'guilty pleasure' ends guilty of not living up to its potential.

March 30, 2005 Full Review

The movie's cinematography, set design, and costume design are all extremely elegant, and the beautiful young actors are shown off to maximum effect, like expensively bred horses.

June 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid


February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Cruel Intentions is vapid and mean -- in a good way.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Kumble doesn't dumb down the themes of the novel too much, he just gives them a refreshing, flashy feel Dawson's Creek-style.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Despite its highly descriptive dialogue, Cruel Intentions features no nudity ... I doubt teenage boys will be satisfied just to hear Buffy talk dirty.

September 6, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

The movie never gets past a crucial structural flaw: Behavior that would have scandalized pre-Revolutionary France would scarcely raise an eyebrow among today's drug-dazed and sex-crazed Upper East Side crowd.

June 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A clever reworking of a literary classic.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Cruel Intentions takes the incredible brilliance of de Laclos's 1782 novel and makes it...a teeny bit dull.

July 9, 2001 Full Review

Audience Reviews for Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is a pretty interesting teen drama comedy. I wasn't sure about wanting to see it, however I finally did, and was surprised. The film has a good enough cast that keeps the material working, and the cast deliver some good performances. The film is both funny and demented and at times dramatic, and the film is fairly underrated. The film is of course not perfect, but for what it is, it manages to be a good, entertaining hour and a half. What made this film worth watching was Selma Blair as Cecile; she definitely gave the funniest performance of all. Sarah Michelle Gellar was great as Kathryn. She really gave a cruel, uncaring performance, and she definitely delivered in that respect. Cruel Intentions is a well made teen film that is much better than one might think. The film is funny, and has a good cast at hand. I enjoyed many of the cast here, and I thought they each brought something special to the screen. There are things that could've been done better, but for what it is, Cruel Intentions works well enough to keep you interested and entertained, sure the film at times is so-so, but there are plenty of good things going on-screen to enjoy. This is a different and refreshing type of teen comedy/drama film, and like I said, I didn't expect to like it. The cast make this film watchable, and add to that a pretty clever script, and you have a good little film. There are plenty of good, memorable moments on-screen, with plenty of funny bits. An underrated film.
October 8, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Captured our imaginations when we were teenagers.
August 15, 2011
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

Heartbreaking! Exceptional acting from all the cast. One of my all time favourite films!
June 23, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

My friend recommend this movie to me at first and then I decided to check it out. It is not a new movie, but yet there is something very cool about it. Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar played the antagonists very well and Reese Witherspoon as Annette is successful in bringing the innocent-sense of the character. The soundtrack is the best and the ending is satisfying.
December 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Kathryn Merteuil: My advice is to sleep with as many people as possible.
    2. Cecile Caldwell: But that would make me a slut, wouldn't it?
    3. Kathryn Merteuil: Cecile, everybody does it; it's just that nobody talks about it.
    4. Cecile Caldwell: So, it's like a secret society?
    5. Kathryn Merteuil: That's one way looking at it.
    6. Kathryn Merteuil: [under her breath] Fucking idiot...
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
    1. Sebastian Valmont: It's not like you have a husband - unless you're married to Jesus.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
    1. Kathryn Merteuil: Unfortunately, our Don Juan is moving with the speed of a Special Olympics hurdler.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
    1. Kathryn Merteuil: Who are you spying on? That her?
    2. Sebastian Valmont: Yeah
    3. Kathryn Merteuil: Aww, she's crying. Little baby upset about the big bad book.
    4. Sebastian Valmont: Shut up!
    5. Kathryn Merteuil: What's up your ass?
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
    1. Kathryn Merteuil: Can I take my new car for a ride?
    2. Sebastian Valmont: Kathryn, the only thing you'll be riding is me.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
    1. Sebastian Valmont: You spend all your time preaching about waiting for love. Well here it is. Right in front of you, and you're going to turn your back on it. So I guess we're just f*ucked. I'll move on. But you are going to have to live the rest of your life knowing that you've turned your back on love. And that makes you a hypocrite. Have a nice life.
    – Submitted by Folashade K (20 months ago)
View all quotes (23)

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