Film: Cruel Intentions

Opened: March 5, 1999

Directed by: Roger Kumble

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tara Reid, Swoosie Kurtz & Christine Baranski

Manipulation is key in this film based on the 1782 novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe do it perfectly despite a mediocre script.

Step siblings Kathryn Merteuil (Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Phillippe) make a bet to see if Sebastian can take the virginity of their new headmaster’s daughter Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon). If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian’s car but if he wins, he gets to sleep with her.

While Witherspoon beautifully plays her role, the film is owned by Gellar and Phillippe. Though their script isn’t the strongest, they both brilliantly play both sides of the coin easily switching from concerned to conceited.

Some sexual situations would not go over well today, but Gellar has a memorable speech about the perception of sexually active men versus women.

Final say: A fatal attraction. ★★★☆☆

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