If there were an Oscar category for “Most Perfect Teen Movie that Totally Transcends the Category of Teen Movies and Makes a Deep Statement About Love and Trust and Innocence and the Human Condition at Large,” then Roger Kumble’s 1999 drama Cruel Intentions would so be the winner.
Cruel Intentions is a genius high school adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons set in wealthy upper Manhattan well before Gossip Girl was a thing.
It stars the hottest, most damaged version of Ryan Phillippe ever, and — actually, wait, why am I doing a synopsis? If you haven’t seen this movie, then I think we’re going to have to stop being friends until you do some real soul-searching and address the major deficiency in your character as a result of having never been exposed to this masterpiece of a film in the whole fourteen years since its groundbreaking release.
I recently made one of the best decisions of my life when I stayed home on a Friday night to re-watch it for the first time in two years (a record for me).
Here I am live-tweeting the event, and you’re welcome in advance:
Wait for it…
And three hours later…
Impressively, I only lost four followers that day.
You may be wondering why this film has the ability to move me to tears (and tweets), and well, I can’t answer that question in any simple terms. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that I always fall for Sebastians — you know, heartless yet insanely charming men who want nothing more than to jump from bed to bed without ever actually getting emotionally invested in anyone or anything.
Everyone always gives the classic argument that “you can’t make a man like that change” — and yet, in Cruel Intentions, someone changes him. The jerk falls in love! And with a sweet, innocent good girl — a virgin, even — named Annette.
And so my life’s goal has been to be the gay male version of Annette. And I’ve failed in this quest with like, I don’t know, fourteen-thousand Sebastians or something. And so when I watch Cruel Intentions, I get very emotional over the fact that it’s a cruel reminder (see what I did there?) of the fact that Annettes only exist in the movies.
And even then, the Sebastian dies — so the moral of the story is that LOVE NEVER WORKS AND HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE AN EMOTIONAL REACTION TO THAT?
This movie is just… I just… Stick a fork in me, I am done.