Dangerous Liaisons (1988)


Starring: John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz

Director: Stephen Frears

Summary: Rich and bored aristocrats in Rococo France play high-stakes games of passion and betrayal

Other Nominations: Actress (Close), Supporting Actress (Pfeiffer), Adapted Screenplay*, Original Score, Art Direction*, Costume Design*

A lot of the movie is smutty, but it’s themes and main characters (in addition to its high-art aesthetic trappings) elevate it to something more. It does a nice job of delving into gender roles (on a historical level, but still relevant today) and power plays between men and women that devolve into nothing but one upmanship and ultimately self-destruction. Close and Malkovich are entertaining and charismatic bastards, both with good performances and even Keanu Reeves (in a pre-”Bill and Ted” performance) isn’t that bad-you would expect the worst for him in a period piece, but the role calls for him to be awkward and out of his element in comparison to his peers and does that perfectly for obvious reasons. The movie finishes on a strong note with Close earning her nomination in those scenes alone, and it ends up being a quality effort overall.

Rating: B


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