Review: Cruel Intentions (1999)


“Most people are sheep. Who are you to criticize something you’ve never experienced?”
– Sebastian Valmont

SYNOPSIS: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term. – via IMDB


GRADE 8Rewatching this recently was very rewarding. I watched it many years ago, definitely when I was way too young for this on way too many levels. I was on such a nineties binge, and this was right up on my list. I watched it with my hubby, and then again shortly after with Natasha, because she hadn’t seen it.

Right off the bat, the movie is twisted. I don’t say that in a bad way (you all know how much I love a little bit of the icky). Cruel Intentions explores some really dark subject manner, touts some truly reprehensible characters, and really looks at the depths of depravity and cruelty that some people are overly familiar with. The cast played their roles so convincingly, and that really helped it along. Witherspoon was sweet, pure, and adorable, while Phillippe and Gellar both nailed the dark, twisted, sadistic beings that they were. The supporting cast, too, was quite good.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe has fantastic chemistry here (yes, I know they were together, but it conveys so well on screen). It was great to watch them. Selma Blair’s Cecile just annoyed me endlessly. I am sorry, she was just so… silly. Pointless. Annoying. I get why she was there, and Blair played Cecile well, but she was one character I was not overly fond of. I would have liked to see more Joshua Jackson, and his character was a right snake!


The pacing for this is pretty good, and it all works together to bring about a solid story, albeit quite a nasty one, and it provides the viewer with a most satisfying, unexpected conclusion, and just looking at the fact that it is not the same stale story with a little twist in it is pretty refreshing.

There are flaws, surely, but the movie is engrossing and fascinating regardless of that. The dialogue is a little odd at times, and these kids are really hard to identify with. These people are sick and twisted, and yet you cannot help being drawn into their crazy games. Sebastian is a character that develops quite a bit, yet Kathryn never even tries to change her ways. I found Cruel Intentions to be dark and devious, and definitely something to keep you hooked from the off. That being said, I just don’t think it is going to work for more sensitive viewers.

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