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Movie Review: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons
Dangerous Liaisons
Directed by
Stephen Frears
Glenn Close
John Malkovich
December 21, 1988

This movie is on a shortlist of ones that I'll watch repeatedly, like a little kid with a Disney video. Set in pre-revolution, 18th Century France, the movie is based on a contemporaneous novel. The story of social intrigue and deceit could just as easily take place at any point in time from the beginning of history to today (Mean Girls, anyone?). I find it endlessly fascinating even though I am not the type to engage in such behavior. (I probably have more in common with Le Chevalier Danceny than I care to admit.)

What truly grabs my attention, though, is the period portrayed. This movie deserves the Oscars it won for Art Direction and Costume Design (in addition to the Screenplay, another well-deserved award). The depiction of the everyday life of the French nobility is captivating. From the opening scene with the main characters getting ready for their day to the faux good act of the Vicomte de Valmont in saving the peasant from the tax collector, you truly get a sense of the gap between rich and poor of that era. We seem to be heading in that direction today, hopefully, we'll arrest it before we have our own 1789.