Dangerous Liaisons


(out of 5)

There are so many plush costumes, so many opulent sets, so many terrific plot maneuvers, fantastic snippets of dialogue and juicy performances that you just don’t know which to celebrate first. In Christopher Hampton’s pristine adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which he first adapted to the stage before it reached film, a lethally vengeful Marquise () entreats her best friend Valmont (), a well-known seducer, to help her achieve revenge on an ex-lover. She asks that Valmont spoil the purity of a virginal, convent-educated girl () whom her ex has chosen for his bride, thereby embarrassing him in front of all Parisian society when his bride shows up on her wedding night a master of sexual arts.  Malkovich takes the task on, but also announces that he has a conquest of his own: he plans to tear down the high-minded piety of a faithfully married aristocrat (), a victory which would go down as among his greatest. Stephen Frears clips it all along at a terrific, pulse-pounding pace that you would never expect from a period piece, and never shirks from delighting in all the unapologetic evil that these characters indulge in before they get their deserved comeuppance. Intelligent and elegant, it succeeds in no small part because of the performances. Pfeiffer is heartbreakingly vulnerable and a tower a strength and a million things in between, Malkovich sexually acidic, and Close so very cunning and smooth that you will find yourself grateful to have a screen between you and her machinations. A masterpiece on all levels.

USA/United Kingdom, 1988

Directed by Stephen Frears

Screenplay by , based on his play from the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  , , , ,

Academy Awards
Best Art Direction (art direction: Stuart Craig; set decoration: Gerard James)
Best Costume Design (James Acheson)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium) (Christopher Hampton)

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Glenn Close as “Marquise de Merteuil”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Michelle Pfeiffer as “Madame de Tourvel”)
Best Music (Original Score) (George Fenton)
Best Picture (Norma Heyman, Hank Moonjean, producers)

National Society of Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Best Cinematography (Philippe Rousselot)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Writers Guild Award
Best Adapted Screenplay

British Academy Award
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Best Screenplay – Adapted

Best Actress (Glenn Close)
Best Direction (Stephen Frears)
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Original Film Score
Best Production Design
Best Make Up Artist

Cesar Award
Best Foreign Film

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Director (Stephen Frears)





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