Cruel Intentions is nothing short of a cult, and controversial, classic, so we're not exactly surprised to learn that its cast aren't convinced it would be successful beyond the '90s. As the sordid teen drama celebrates its 20th! Reflecting on one of the many somewhat sexually-deviant plot twists, Sarah Michelle Gellar admitted that one scene featuring Ryan Phillippe's Sebastian Valmont and Selma Blair's Cecile Caldwell would "never" be made today. In the scene, Sebastian lures an unsuspecting Cecile over his house before blackmailing her into sex — something Phillippe didn't fully comprehend at the time. Gellar, who played the ultra-glam, ultra-deviant Kathryn Merteuil, added: "What they're doing to her is horrible.
The film is an adaptation of the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses , written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in , but set among wealthy teenagers attending high school in New York City instead of 18th-century France. The film started as a smaller budget independent film , but was picked up by Columbia Pictures and released on March 5, Despite mixed critical reviews, the performances of Gellar, Philippe, and Witherspoon were praised. In an upscale New York City mansion, wealthy and popular teenager Kathryn Merteuil discusses her prep school with Mrs. Caldwell and her daughter, Cecile. Kathryn promises Mrs. Caldwell that she will look out for the naive Cecile.
Step-siblings Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe manipulate friends and strangers to seek revenge, prove their sexual prowess and relieve the boredom of their high-society lives. A nude man and woman move rhythmically in bed we only see their faces, bare shoulders and the top of her breasts. In three scenes oral sex is implied: a woman's head rises up from the driver's side seat where a man is sitting, a man takes off his pants in front of a woman we briefly see his underwear , and a man takes off a woman's pants we briefly see the back of her underwear then kneels in front of her. We hear moaning and sexual talk, then see two men in their underwear when a man pulls off a blanket covering them. We hear a woman moaning pleasurably, then see her in a slip sitting on a bed and a man in boxers hiding in a large drawer.
When he leaves the room, the snobbish therapist receives a panicked call from her daughter — she let a young man take nude photos of her and he has subsequently published the photos online. Cruel Intentions was released in the tail-end of a decade defined by teen films such as Dazed and Confused , Clueless and The Craft. Their plan? To sexually corrupt Cecille, therefore destroying her reputation and forcing Court to lose interest.