Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Roger Kumble|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Written by||Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)
|Starring||Sarah Michelle Gellar
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Cinematography||Theo van de Sande|
|Editing by||Jeff Freeman|
Newmarket Capital Group
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||97 minutes|
Cruel Intentions is a 1999 American drama film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair. The film is an adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses, written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in 1782, but set among wealthy teenagers attending high school in modern New York City.
The film started as an independent film with a small budget, and was later picked up by Columbia Pictures. It was released on March 5, 1999 and was followed by two direct-to-video films: a prequel, Cruel Intentions 2, and a sequel, Cruel Intentions 3.
The wealthy and popular Kathryn Merteuil (Gellar) takes the sheltered and naive Cecile Caldwell (Blair) under her wing, promising to turn Cecile into a model student. Kathryn's real intention, however, is to use Cecile to indirectly take revenge on Court Reynolds, her ex-lover, who had dumped her for Cecile. Kathryn asks her step-brother, Sebastian Valmont (Phillippe), to seduce Cecile; he refuses as he is planning to seduce virgin Annette Hargrove (Witherspoon) - a 'paradigm of chastity and virtue' - and spoil her social reputation. Doubting Sebastian's chance of success, they make a wager: If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's vintage 1956 Jaguar XK140 roadster; if Sebastian wins, Kathryn will allow him to "put it anywhere" (an oblique reference to anal sex). Sebastian agrees.
Ronald Clifford, Cecile's music teacher, is also in love with Cecile. Annette is temporarily staying with Helen Rosemond, Sebastian's aunt. Cecile's mother, Mrs. Caldwell, who met Annette at her school, has already warned Annette of Sebastian's reputation for womanizing. Sebastian's seduction of Annette fails. Wanting revenge on the Caldwells, Sebastian tells Kathryn he will now seduce Cecile. Kathryn tells Cecile's mother about Ronald and Cecile's romance and Mrs. Caldwell intervenes in her daughter's relationship. Sebastian, in turn, calls Cecile to his house, ostensibly to give her a letter from Ronald. Sebastian blackmails Cecile and performs oral sex on her. The next day, Cecile confides in Kathryn, who advises her to learn the art of sex from Sebastian so that she can make Ronald happy in bed.
Sebastian falls in love with Annette, who returns his feelings but resists him. Sebastian calls her a hypocrite because she claims to be waiting for her one true love, but when her one true love chooses to love her back, she resists. She relents, but Sebastian refuses her, confused about his feelings colliding with his stolid sexuality. Annette flees to her friend's parents' estate. Sebastian tracks her down, professes his love, and makes love to her. As he has won the bet, Kathryn offers herself to Sebastian the next day, but he refuses; he now wants Annette only. Kathryn taunts him and threatens to ruin Annette's reputation, so Sebastian pretends indifference to Annette and coldly breaks up with her.
After Sebastian tells Kathryn that he has broken up with Annette and arranged for Cecile and Ronald to be together, Kathryn reveals that she has known all along that he was truly in love with Annette and manipulated him into giving her up. She then rejects him. Sebastian leaves, and Kathryn calls Ronald to inform him that Sebastian had hit her. Sebastian finds and sends Annette his journal, in which he has detailed all of Kathryn's maneuvers and written his true feelings for Annette. When Sebastian starts heading home, Ronald confronts him in the middle of the street and a fight ensues. Annette runs out and tries to stop it. She is thrown into the way of an oncoming cab. Sebastian pushes her to safety and is hit by the speeding cab himself. Before he dies, Sebastian and Annette profess their love for each other.
At Sebastian's funeral, Cecile distributes copies of Sebastian's journal, made into a book by Annette, titled "Cruel Intentions". Kathryn is humiliated and rejected by her former friends, and she is defamed for the cocaine hidden in her cross necklace. Annette drives away in Sebastian's Jaguar with his journal at her side as fond memories of Sebastian play through her head.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn Merteuil
- Ryan Phillippe as Sebastian Valmont
- Reese Witherspoon as Annette Hargrove
- Selma Blair as Cecile Caldwell
- Louise Fletcher as Helen Rosemond
- Swoosie Kurtz as Dr. Regina Greenbaum
- Sean Patrick Thomas as Ronald Clifford
- Christine Baranski as Bunny Caldwell
- Joshua Jackson as Blaine Tuttle
- Eric Mabius as Greg McConnell
- Tara Reid as Marci Greenbaum
- Charlie O'Connell as Court Reynolds
- Herta Ware as Mrs. Sugarman
Cruel Intentions received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 48% based on reviews from 77 critics, or an average score of 5.3/10, with the site's consensus stating; "Even in a slick package and an attractive cast, the movie succumbs to bad acting and a bad script." Metacritic gave the film an average score of 56% based on reviews from 24 critics. However, the film has gained somewhat of a cult following. Charles Taylor of Salon.com described the film as "The Dirtiest-minded American movie in recent memory - and an honestly corrupt entertaining picture is never anything to sneeze at." Stephen Holden The New York Times stated, "You have the queasy sense that the whole thing is just an elaborate stunt, and in this case an exploitative one."
Cruel Intentions was a commercial success. The film grossed $13,020,565 in its opening weekend, ranking #2 behind Analyze This; released in 2,312 theaters, the movie raked in $75,902,208 worldwide.
The film received the following awards and nominations:
|2000||Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Favorite Supporting Actress (Reese Witherspoon)||Won|
|Golden Slate Awards||Best Original Score||Won|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sarah Michelle Gellar)||Nominated|
|Best Movie Soundtrack||Won|
|Best Teen Movie||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Female Performance (Sarah Michelle Gellar)||Won|
|Best Kiss (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair)||Won|
|Best Male Performance (Ryan Phillippe)||Nominated|
|Best Villain (Sarah Michelle Gellar)||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Best Film – Drama||Won|
|Best Actor (Ryan Phillippe)||Nominated|
|Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon)||Nominated|
|Sexiest Love Scene (Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe)||Nominated|
- "Cruel Intentions (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
- "Cruel Intentions". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- "Cruel Intentions Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- Taylor, Charles. (1999-03-05). "Cruel Intentions". Salon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- Holden, Stephen. (1999-03-05). "'Cruel Intentions': Back to Their Old Tricks, but a Whole Lot Younger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Cruel Intentions|
- Cruel Intentions at the Internet Movie Database
- Cruel Intentions at allmovie
- Cruel Intentions at Rotten Tomatoes
- Cruel Intentions at Metacritic
- Cruel Intentions at Box Office Mojo