DANGEROUS GAMES

CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

I finally saw Cruel Intentions after so long (it’s a 1999 film). I’ve always wanted to see it because I really liked Sarah Michelle Gellar when I was younger (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and what not’s).

It is set in modern NYC among the rich, young and famous students who are about to enter senior year. Enter Kathryn Merteuil (Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) step-siblings who are as manipulative as one can get. Kathryn has been dumped by her beau, who has taken a liking for a more innocent transfer student, Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair) – which she has taken under her wing – “keep your friends close, your enemies closer”, she says.

Her intention is to corrupt and destroy Cecile’s reputation as well as teach her ex-beau a lesson. She tries to engage the help of her womanizer of a step-brother but he has other plans. His latest conquest would be Annette Hargrove (Resse Witherspoon), the new headmaster’s daughter, who has openly declared that she would keep her virginity intact till she is in love. Kathryn thinks Sebastian does not stand a chance and makes a wager with him. If he wins, he gets her; if she wins, she gets his vintage Jaguar.

Problem is, Sebastian falls for Annette along the way and complicates the wager, which Kathryn carefully manipulates according to her advantage.

The words that popped into my mind within the first 15 minutes were “scheming” and “manipulative”. The step-siblings used others’ weaknesses against them and treats them like pawns in a game. In fact, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Kathryn so well (in a bad way), I disliked her character. But it’s obvious that deep down Kathryn’s a loner. She knew she lost the wager the moment Sebastian fell for Annette (making her end of the wager seemingly worthless) because she knows it’s the one thing she wouldn’t have. Oh, guess what? Her ex-beau turned out to be hiding in a closet… I guess the real winner is Annette, who not only won Sebastian’s heart, trampled over Kathryn and drove away with the vintage Jaguar! Thank goodness Sebastian kept a diary.

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