Dangerous Liaisons

  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Producers: Norma Heyman, Hank Moonjean
  • Writers: Christopher Hampton
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Keanu Reeves, Mildred Natwick, and, Uma Thurman

The Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) calls on her partner, the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich), to seduce the young daughter of her cousin, Madame de Volanges (Swoosie Kurtz), thus having revenge on a former lover, the man to whom young Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman) is promised in marriage. At first, Valmont refuses her proposition: he wants to seduce the prudish Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), who is spending time at his aunt’s house while her husband is abroad.

Upon discovering that Madame de Volanges had been secretly writing to Madame de Tourvel to warn her against his evil nature, Valmont changes his mind and decides to follow Merteuil’s scheme. They take advantage of the fact that young Cécile is in love with her music teacher, the Chevalier Danceny (Keanu Reeves), who does not qualify in the eyes of her mother as a potential suitor.

At his aunt’s, Valmont easily seduces Cécile. She later becomes pregnant with Valmont’s child, but suffers a miscarriage, avoiding a scandal. Valmont meanwhile steadily targets his main prey, Madame de Tourvel, who, though realizing that she has become his prey, eventually gives in to his tireless advances.

But unknown to Valmont, the womanizer his entire life, and much against the course of events, the magic of love casts a spell on Valmont. The devoted love of Tourvel shakes him to his roots. But it was too late for him to stop himself and others fall into dark vortex of the evil plans he and Merteuil had cooked up.

The film and play alter the novel’s original ending, in which Merteuil’s face is permanently disfigured due to illness.