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Cruel Intentions (1999, Reese Witherspoon, Sara Michelle Gellar)

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During the school holidays, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) tries to persuade her stepbrother Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) to seduce Cecile (Selma Blair), who has stolen her boyfriend. But he has another target: the innocent Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon). Annette, wary of his reputation, avoids him while Cecile falls for her music teacher, a romance quickly snuffed out by her mother. But as Sebastian and Annette are drawn closer, so Kathryn’s jealousy sows seeds of destruction…

Human frailty sketched from de Laclos’ classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses is one marketing strategy. Buffy In Same-Sex Shocker is another, and Cruel Intentions uses them both, updating its original ambition from vicious low-budget guerilla short to feature-length Hollywood splendour as a result. Updating many features of the original novel (love letters become e-mails) without losing its flavour, the film delivers drama and intrigue courtesy of a quartet who relish their characters.

production details
USA | 97 minutes | 1999

Writer and Director: Roger Kumble, from the novel by Chordelos de Laclos

cast
Ryan Phillippe as Sebastian Valmont
Eric Mabius as Greg McConnell
Herta Ware as Mrs. Sugarman
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn Merteuil
Sean Patrick Thomas as Ronald Clifford
Selma Blair as Cecile Caldwell
Reese Witherspoon as Annette Hargrove
Louise Fletcher as Helen Rosemond
Joshua Jackson as Blaine Tuttle
Christine Baranski as Bunny Caldwell
Alaina Reed Hall as Nurse
Deborah Offner as Mrs. Michalak
Tara Reid as Marci Greenbaum
Swoosie Kurtz as Dr. Greenbaum
Hiep Thi Le as Mai-Lee
Charlie O’Connell as Court Reynolds
Fred Norris as Meter Maid
Ginger Williams as Clorissa
Drew Snyder as Headmaster Hargrove
Phil Hawn as

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