Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius
Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.
Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Darkly Delicious
Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.
We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.
Thoughts on Cruel Intentions
Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.
Performances – Sarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.
Story – The story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.
Romance – The romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.
Settings – The New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.
Final Thoughts – This is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.
Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.