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Dangerous Liaisons Summary & Analysis

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12/06/2012 07:07 PM
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Dangerous Liaisons is a drama based on the 18th century French novel, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. This film is about control, manipulation and revenge with the primary weapon to extract these elements being seduction.   The character from which the entire plot spins is Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close).   Merteuil is portrayed as a strong, influential and wealthy woman but behind closed doors, she is a sex hungry manipulator.   As the film progresses, it is revealed that she feels that because women are dominated by men, she can switch the roles and use sex to control and dominate men.
The plot starts when Merteuil wants to extract revenge on an ex-lover.   She does this by soliciting a cunning womanizer, Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) to seduce and ruin her ex-lovers fiancée, Cecile de Volanges (Uma Thurman).   Coincidently, Volanges is the daughter of Merteuil’s cousin, Madame de Volanges (Swoosie Kurtz).   In return, Merteuil offers an entire night with her if he can show written proof of his seduction.   Initially, Valmont declines as he is already trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) whose husband is away.   His seduction is not going well and when he finds out that Madame Volanges is writing Tourvel letters warning her of his shameful ways, Valmont agrees to team with Merteuil.
As Valmont continues to seduce Tourvel, he plans to seduce Volanges.   When he realizes that the young Volanges has a crush on her music teacher, Chevalier Raphael Danceny, (Keanu Reeves) he uses this fact to gain access to Volanges’ bedroom and rape her.   The next day at breakfast Valmont continues to antagonize Volanges until she becomes completely unnerved.   Madame Volanges, in an attempt to help her daughter, asks Merteuil to talk to the young Volanges.   During this conversation, Merteuil continues her manipulation by advising Volanges to use sex as a way to control men and to continue her affair with Valmont.   Meanwhile, Valmont falls...
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