Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. 88
    The film is rapturously beautiful, enticing us into a lush, aristocratic world.
  2. 88
    The Frears version is cerebral and claustrophobic, an exercise in sexual mindplay.
  3. Forman's treatment is another matter entirely - infinitely more subtle and, using the intrinsic bias of film, far more naturalistic. [18 Nov 1989]
  4. 75
    Valmont is a superb piece of craftsmanship, impeccable in every detail from lighting to costuming, but as a work of art it remains tentative and blurred. [17 Nov 1989]
  5. But seductive as his surfaces are, Forman's tack doesn't hold for long. His changes have muted a great tale of betrayal by intelligence and he has blunted the malign inevitability of Laclos' story. [17 Nov 1989]
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Valmont, to my surprise, isn't the best movie of Choderlos de Laclos' novel. Blame overripe material, as well as Forman's benign approach to an essentially nasty yarn. [17 Nov 1989]
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    Making no secret of the fact that he has "freely adapted" the novel, writer Jean-Claude Carriere and Milos "Amadeus" Forman have come up with a visually mouthwatering epic treatment: beautiful, opulent, sumptuous.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    Milos Forman's meticulously produced Valmont is an extremely well-acted period piece that suffers from stately pacing and lack of dramatic high points.
  9. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    50
    Milo Forman's Valmont is the weakest version so far, suffering from willfully wrongheaded casting, a comic-strip "free" adaptation by former Luis Bunuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carriere, and Forman's heavy-handed direction of material that requires the most sophisticated glancing touch.
  10. The results are too pretty and well acted to be a total washout, but the fascination with evil and power that gives the novel intensity is virtually absent; what remains is mainly petty malice and mild cynicism.
  11. Livelier, more absorbing, and generally better acted than "Dangerous Liaisons," which arrived a year ago. But it runs out of inspiration long before it runs out of plot twists, and we've seen the twists too many times before.
  12. For every necessary touch that Valmont has reduced or dispensed with (the climactic duel scene, for instance), there is another, less vital moment that has been expanded.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    20
    Valmont arrives stiffened by the elegant, inert formalism of Forman's direction, and chilled by Carriere's all too sober respect for his source and by their mutual determination to apply modern psychological understanding to the behavior of the principal figures.
  14. 20
    With its callow cast and playful tone, there is nothing dangerous about Forman's variation on the novelist's schemes.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 22, 2011
    6
    Another attempt to film Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Valmont was released just one year after Stephen Frears's Dangerous Liaisons, this timeAnother attempt to film Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Valmont was released just one year after Stephen Frears's Dangerous Liaisons, this time directed by Milos Forman. This was Forman's next film after Amadeus and even brings along Jeffrey Jones, Ian McNiece, and Vicent Schiavelli to you remind you just how good Amadeus was. Well, Valmont is no Amadeus. In fact, it is not even Dangerous Liaisons.

    The story is very similar. This time, a very young Colin Firth tries Valmont but unfortunately is compared to John Malkovich from the previous year's film. Firth is great, but Malkovich was Valmont. There is also a very young and new Annette Bening as Marquise de Merteuil and she definitely pales in comparison to Glenn Close's Marquise. Valmont is missing the bite and sting of the dialogue which this story is made for. The verbal sparring between Valmont and the Marquise should be dialogue the audience remembers afterwards for its cleverness, but this iteration lacks the tension and the smarts. Milos Forman could have easily used the same costumes and set design he used in Amadeus, but Valmont just seems lazy compared to that effort. For newcomers to this story, watch Dangerous Liaisons instead. Watch Cruel Intentions for a laugh if you want the next generation's attempt at it.
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