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Posts Tagged ‘pre-revolution’

Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer head up the cast of this story of scheming and sex, set in pre-revolutionary France. Close plays Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, an outwardly respectable lady, who sets out to avenge a former lover by asking Vicomte Sebastian de Valmont (Malkovich) to seduce her former lover’s new fiancee, the young Cecile (Uma Thurman). Valmont in turn, decides to seduce Madame de Tourvel (Pfeiffer), for nothing more than the fun of it….but neither Isabelle nor Valmont has reckoned on their personal feelings getting in the way…

Well! I wasn’t sure what I expected from this film, but what I got was a steamy, seedy, decadent story of two rather unpleasant individuals who seem intent on humiliating and debasing their peers, simply for the fun of it. But that is not to say that the film is not enjoyable; I actually found it very gripping, and at times amusing. Malkovich seems to relish playing the villain – he’s just so good at it, and far sexier than such a dastardly character deserves to be. Close really shows off her acting chops here – she is brilliant, managing to convey such feeling with just a subtle change of expression. Pfeiffer too is great – this is possibly the best acting I have ever seen her do.

Swoosie Kurtz heads up the supporting cast admirably, and Uma Thurman plays the innocent (but soon to be corrupted) Cecile very well. Keanu Reeves plays the unsuspecting and innocent young music teacher who falls for Cecile, but who is used as a pawn by Isabelle and is drawn into her world of deceit.

I’m not sure that this is a film I would watch again, but it is certainly a film that I would recommend people to watch at least once. Enjoyable, if not exactly uplifting.

Year of release: 1988

Director: Stephen Frears

Producers: Norma Heyman, Hank Moonjean, Christopher Hampton

Writers: Choderlos de Laclos (book), Christopher Hampton

Main cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz

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