Cruel Intentions

Published July 14, 2013

Cruel Intentions

Film info

  • Title Cruel Intentions
  • Director Roger Kumble
  • Year 1999
  • Run time 1hr 37m
  • Genres Romance, Drama
  • Tagline In the game of seduction, there is only one rule: never fall in love

This modern-day teen update of Les Liaisons Dangereuses suffered at the hands of both critics and moviegoers thanks to its sumptuous ad campaign, which hyped the film as an arch, highly sexual, faux-serious drama (not unlike the successful, Oscar-nominated Dangerous Liaisons). In fact, Cruel Intentions plays like high comedy for its first two-thirds, as its two evil heroes, rich stepsiblings Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe), blithely ruin lives and reputations with hearts as black as coal.

Fast Facts

Title: Cruel Intentions Director: Roger Kumble Year: 1999 Run time: 1hr 37m

Background Info

With Netflix losing deals left right and centre, it was pointed out that Cruel Intentions had disappeared from the US app. We had put it on a list a while ago so thought we’d better bring it forward in anticipation of it being pulled from the UK offerings as well. In terms of the actual movie, I wanted to see it because of the sheer number of people in it, in the early-ish days of their career.

Live Blog

0:46 - I mostly recognise Placebo as the band that sound like snowboarding. 5:03 - You have to be worried when Tara Reid is out of your league. 7:06 - I’m going to take you to lunch is such a presumptuous thing to say. He does have a nice car though. 10:54 - They have, like, a step above middle class problems. 13:41 - These two are excellent at plotting. Evil. 16:38 - Is this where people actually live? 20:16 - Jeez, there are lots of famous people in this one. 25:22 - I bet that made a huge storm. Buffy kissing a girl! 38:13 - Jeez, that’s an ancient phone. And I thought the mobiles were old. 44:03 - I’ve only seen one Brady Bunch movie but I don’t think she’s one of them. 49:05 - Does he know he’s wearing cricket whites and holding a tennis racquet? 52:57 - How does she do that with her face? She turned into a goblin! 1:03:42 - Oh, he’s gonna lose that awesome car just because of feelings! 1:07:17 - Stalker man waiting at the top of the staircase, but she doesn’t seem to mind. 1:12:15 - I can see them thinking it’s not incest, until they go and call each other brother and sister. 1:15:38 - Genuine usage of “it’s not you, it’s me.” 1:23:15 - There’s a lot of letter writing in this film, and emails were mentioned only disparagingly. 1:29:00 - I wasn’t expecting that. He did go right over the car though. 1:33:26 - So where are the parents in all this? Particularly at this end.


Over the top and ridiculous, this was fun to watch, a good popcorn movie, but not really anything to write home about. I enjoyed seeing Phillipe and Whitherspoon’s scenes together, just wondering what it must be like to have your husband act 100% better than you right at your face. It was laughably poor casting, as these 24 and 25 year olds were meant to be playing 17 year olds. It works for some people, but none of these looked like they were school kids.

I also thought it felt very dated, in the sense that even in the late 90s, I’m not sure people were picnicking with hampers and big hats on, or reading in the beautiful dappled sunlight under glorious oak trees. It felt like it would be more fitting in Regency dresses, particularly with the big houses involved too. And I’m still not convinced that the adults didn’t even appear at the funeral. Terrible parenting.

**Rating: **3/5

Rating: 3 / 5

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