Dangerous Liaisons

1988

Dangerous Liaisons

Critics Consensus

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

93%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 29

83%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 46,509

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

83%
Average Rating: 3.7/5

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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

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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 (29) | Top Critics (8)

  • 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

½

I love France in this time.... pretty dresses. I found it very intriguing and seductive. Proves once more Glenn Close is astonishing and that Keanu Reeves actually has had a good role in his life. WOW.

Jennifer D
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

good plot JOHN MALKOVICH is a strange actor... he kept the same face the entire time!!! he never showed emotion evan when he died!

Morgan Salem
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer

½

This is basically Elizabeth, if Elizabeth were an old slutty manipulatress. I know it's a good movie and technically impressive and all that shit that bodice-rippers always are, but these films always deal with the exact same themes. "lol the hidden strength of a woman" "lol the heart plays by no rules" "lol even the most dignified man is still a beast" Come on, now. Mix things up a little bit. The highlight of the film remains John Malkovich, a chilling sociopath who's out to ruin as many lives as possible just for personal challenge. His performance is a study in how to properly exude inexpressiveness - the perverse, confused smiles, and the declarations of love that are totally hollow even when he doesn't mean them to be. It is almost terrifying. Glenn Close is also capable, though the character is no new take on the Imperial Dragon Lady. Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer fade away, the latter especially surprisingly considering she picked up a Supporting Actress nod. And Keanu Reeves...*sigh* That performance in The Gift is looking more and more like a fluke every day. Anyway, Dangerous Liaisons isn't bad. It's just nothing special. Another example of the Oscars drinking the Period Piece Koolaid. There's a bit of humor, and a bit of nastiness and a bit of violence and a whole lot of lust, and it makes the movie watchable but nothing even remotely near art or auteurial. If you're not totally sick of these films yet, I guess this is a good place to go.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

½

Manipulative aristocrats John Malkovich and Glenn Close engage in sexual conquest and gender warfare beneath the outward formality and respectability of 18th century France. Valmont was the part that propelled Malkovich into the big leagues and is the part he was born to play. He treads the line perfectly between caddishness and charm as he seduces and beds every woman he encounters for the thrill of the chase, and shows great skill and subtlety in making such a despicable and morally weak character sympathetic toward the end of the film. All the best scenes are of course concerned with the verbal sparring between Valmont and the bitter and calculating Marquise played with equal skill by Close, but Michelle Pfeiffer's sensitive performance and porcelain beauty also paint a believable picture of a woman who would melt the heart of even such a cold-hearted Casanova. The direction is a little flat belying its roots as a stage play and the cinematography a little drab by today's standards, but the witty and perceptive script and excellent performances by the three leads make it well worth a look even for those not enamoured by period drama.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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