A Dangerous Game Of Love Essay, Research Paper
Would you like to play a game? This game involves passion, deceit, lies, and love. I viewed two movies that share the same painful theme; Cruel Intentions and Dangerous Liaisons. They both bring to life a set of characters that play with emotions like they are nothing but a mere child’s game.
I chose to introduce you to the infamous Viconte Valmont and the spoiled Sebastian Valmont. Not only are their names similar, but so were their motives. I liked Sebastian more because of his clench on reality. He portrayed a villain well, but at the same time proved that he too could have feelings. Viconte had feelings also, but it was much harder for him to reveal it. I felt a constant coldness through the movie in each instant he spoke, stared, or moved. And by the time he did show compassion – it was already to late for love.
To bring you into Viconte’s world, you must place yourself in early Baroque France. Affluence is everything, and discreteness is a virtue. The beautiful and vixenous Marquis De Merteuil and promiscuous Viconte Valmont are a fiery duo. The Marquis has requested the assistance of Viconte in what she describes as a “heroic undertaking”. More clearly stated: revenge on her former husband who ran off with Viconte’s mistress. The idea is to destroy and ruin Cecile, the ex-husband’s virginal bride- to -be. Unfortunately for the Marquis, Viconte has another challenge to conquer. He set his sight on the virtuous Madam de Tourvel. Viconte intends to make the lovely lady fall in love with him. Despite his refusal of her request, Viconte persuades the Marquis to promise him a reward (a sexual favor) if he accomplishes his self-appointed task. In the meantime, the Marquis drags in a poor music teacher Dawsoni to achieve her desires. Eventually for purposes of revenge, Viconte assists the Marquis in her venture. This leads to Madam de Tourvel falling in love with Viconte, as he desperately falls in love with her. Their love is tormented by the fact he is ashamed of actually loving, and all of his skeletons come out to haunt him. Viconte brings down the Marquis, but fights Dawsoni because of Cecil’s honor. He purposely lets Dawsoni kill him, in order to tell the sick and dying Madam de Tourvel that he’d rather die than to not have her love. The message is all but too late, as Madam de Tourvel also dies; and the Marquis is left with nothing.
In Cruel Intentions, the theme and plot are one of the same. Deceit, love, and lies all play a major role. A affluent, handsome young man Sebastian Valmont and his conniving step sister Katherine have wanted one another for a long time, but for some reason they have not closed on their lust. Katherine needs Sebastian’s help in ruining a silly twit Cecil; because she is going after Katherine’s ex-boyfriend. Sebastian refuses the challenge, saying it was too easy. Bored with all of the (as Sebastian calls them) “Manhattan debutantes” he sets his sights on Annette Hardgrove, the new head masters daughter at Sebastian and Katherine’s school. Full of jealousy Katherine proposes a bet to Sebastian, that if he scores with Annette than she will agree to have sex with him. If Sebastian loses, and does not “conquer” Annette than Katherine gets Sebastian’s cute little sports car. At first it seems that Sebastian has no chance, but through a series of lies and manipulations, he softens Annette’s reserve. Meanwhile, to aid to Katherine’s initial cause, she hooks Cecil up with a black music teacher named Ronald. He becomes involved in their messed up triangle. Sebastian is overcome by Annette and actually falls in love, writing everything in his life in his journal. For selfish reasons, Sebastian eventually does sleep with Cecil, causing the final conflict. Katherine never set out to actually win Sebastian, she just wanted to see his conquest to fight love away. When he breaks things off with Annette, Katherine laughs in his face and shuns him away. He retaliates by giving his precious journal to Annette, revealing everything about him and Katherine to her. When Annette seeks Sebastian to reconcile, Ronald has already found him to confront him about Cecil. They begin to fight as Annette comes about. She tries to break them up, and in the scuffle she is pushed in front of a car. Sebastian saves her and dies in the process. Students congregating outside to read a published version of Sebastian’s journal, titled Cruel Intentions interrupt the funeral. Katherine is left with nothing but her tears.
Now that both of the movies are fresh in mind, I’d like to bring Sebastian and Viconte to life. To me they were the entire basis of each movie. They were very much alike, but for few differences. For instance, Sebastian Valmont, could he be a descendant of the Viconte Valmont? The names have remained the same, with a new sort of seductive name like Sebastian. In one part of the film, Annette comments to Sebastian’s aunt how beautiful her house is. The Aunt replies “thank you, it’s been in my family for over a hundred years.” I know that Dangerous Liaisons was set in Baroque France, but could this have been implying that Viconte and Sebastian are related somehow? It’s a tricky point to look at.
Sebastian’s cause to win over Annette was the same as Viconte’s. They both set out for the virtuous beautiful woman, with whom they knew they would have a challenge. Neither Sebastian nor Viconte ever imagined that they would fall so deep in love. Viconte’s love letters to Madam de Tourvel did not seem to play as big of role as Sebastian’s journal did though. I did not understand how important the letters were in Dangerous Liaisons even though they were brought up a lot. Sebastian’s journal was almost the entire spin off of the movie, being that it was titled Cruel Intentions (the published journal).
Sebastian showed many emotions through the movie. He cheated, lied, manipulated and loved. Viconte seemed to only lie, cheat, manipulate, and deceive. He seemed unemotional and cold. When Sebastian broke up with Annette, he shed a tear, and was shaking uncontrollably. When Viconte broke things off with Madam de Tourvel, he seemed shaken, but still unemotional. Not until the end of the movie could I really tell that Viconte was very much in love with Madam de Tourvel, being that he intentionally let himself be killed for her. His demise was sad yet purposeful, given that he lived up to his word that he could not live without her love. Sebastian’s death was sad and made me feel bad for Annette. Instead of Annette dying also like Madam de Tourvel did, she had to endure his death and grieve the loss of her first true love alone. Both Sebastian and Viconte died for the same reason; they fell victim to a love they were ashamed of.
These movies are very well done, and I enjoyed both of them. They were realistic enough, and gave the impression of each time setting very well. I enjoyed Sebastian’s character more than Viconte because of the fact that he shed more emotion on the roll. One could actually see the transition from the snake Sebastian to the Sebastian that fell in love with Annette. With Viconte, I could barely tell that he was really in love with Madam de Tourvel until the end where he declares his endless love when he dies. I felt that Annette and Sebastian were truly in love and not just having sex like I felt that Viconte and Madam de Tourvel were. So I have to ask one last question, do you still want to play a game?