Black Pill · Entertainment

Cruel Intentions (1999)

I recently watched Cruel Intentions, a teen romance that might have some elements of titillation, but as I was watching it with the eye of a completely disinterested observer, I cannot say whether I found Sarah Michelle Gellar in it hot. This is not a particularly deep movie. In short, it is about a bunch of wealthy highschoolers fucking people for sport. The male lead, played by Ryan Phillippe, wants to bang women to ruin them, while the female lead, played by the aforementioned Sarah Michelle Gellar, is more concerned with destroying the reputation of absolutely everyone, including hers as well as — spoiler alert! — the male lead’s. Basically everyone in this movie who speaks more than two lines is a bona fide psychopath.

The summary may not rouse your interest, or perhaps it does if you consider American Psycho a movie to draw life lessons from. Despite the obvious shock factor of this movie, which displays romantic entanglement of the two leads, who happen to be step siblings, not siblings, already in its first few minutes, there are some quite remarkable aspects as well. The first one is that the male lead captures very well the easy-going attitude of someone born into money. I have observed these very traits among various people I met in real life, and it is not necessarily a positive. In the movie, however, you see this guy just telling a random girl that he finds her very beautiful, takes her hand, and has dinner with her. This may appear bizarre to the uninitiated, but this is indeed what you can pull off if a woman desires you. In the case of this particular character, you have the combination of stunning good looks and wealth, so of course women are readily spreading their legs for him. A PUA of yore may have watched this movie, think that he only needs to fake it until he has made it, and employ “shock and awe”, completely missing the point that this approach only works if the woman is really into you.

The movie is not particularly self-reflexive, but there is also a side of the “savoir-vivre” of the rich, i.e. the art of living well that is not addressed but lurking behind every corner. If you are a 1%-er, you will remain rich, but even among the quite comfortable you can find people who act as if they have no care in the world — when they indeed should need to learn how to manage a budget. This perhaps affects the pampered daughters of the upper middle class more than their brothers, but can be a problem for them as well. For instance, I know someone from a pretty well-off family who did not take life seriously at all. He began partying hard in his early teens and as he looked much older than he was, he ended up banging not just teenage chicks but also women in their early 20s and above when he was 15 or 16. He surely had his fun for a solid decade, but his current position in life, based on what I gather, is not nearly as enviable as his teenage years may have been, now that his youthful looks are gone and his career is not really going anywhere. For people like this life peaks early and unfolds on a long downward trajectory.

Another aspect Cruel Intentions depicts very well is female rivalries. In that regard, it may even rival Mean Girls. The female lead, for instance, takes great joy in leading her supposed female friends astray. She encourages them to become sluts. Not only does she urge her supposed best friend to bang as many dudes as she can, she also tries to push her into the arms of her black music teacher, just so that she can take pictures to show to that girl’s mother, in order to cause problems for her. The movie jumps the shark when the female lead bangs that very guy out of spite. This happens in real life, too, but normally women do not cross racial lines when engaging in such activities.

Unfortunately, the movie massively drops in quality in the last third as the story line becomes more and more absurd. I was fine with the main story line, even though it was stretching belief. It sees the male lead plotting to bang the daughter of the new headmaster of his expensive private school. She wrote an article on why she wants to keep her virginity. Of course, he eventually falls in love with her — and he bangs her, too. So far so good. However, this love story enrages the female lead to much that she plots to have the male lead killed, and she gets the black dude she has been banging to do it by telling him that her brother hit her. This fine black gentleman right away jumps on the opportunity to defend the honor of this slut, and engages in a fistfight with the male lead in broad daylight in Central Park, and then the male lead gets hit by a car, and dies. All of this is cringe-worthy but the first 60 minutes or so of this movie are pretty good.

3 thoughts on “Cruel Intentions (1999)

  1. I remember this movie faintly, never watched it, only know the 1999 trailer, and the memories of it sort of rekindle a feeling of nostalgia (Back Street Boys-feelings and the like).
    Reading your plot summary, I find it worth to mention, how gossipy and absolutely vapid this entire plot is. Even when it gets into absurdity overdrive at the end. It’s basically like “female romance novels” on dope.
    It only goes to show, to what lows narrative entertainment can decline, once it panders its products (like this one) to a overwhelmingly female audience…

    1. It’s adapted from a French novel from 1782. So altering the story to be about teenagers in 1990s NYC is bound to be somewhat awkward. But overall it’s worth checking out.

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