They should have just stuck to “Pride and Prejudice.” We get it; the classics were swoon-worthy stories with established fan bases, and they are all guaranteed to look good. So, when brainstorming for the next piece of content to be made, this is an easy option to pick as it guarantees some success. But it is getting to a point where they are just undermining the intelligence of the audience. The worst part of it must be the inclusion of social media in the narrative. We understand that the makers wanted to adapt this 200-year-old tale to the sensibilities of 2022, but they ended up making it one-dimensionally dystopian in nature. We have to say that “Dangerous Liaisons” was not completely bad, but it was definitely less than passable. Let us see what goes on in the story.
How Does Tristan Make Celene Fall In Love With Him?
Tristan makes a bet with Vanessa, the reigning social media queen, that he will make Celene fall in love with him, and he places his beach house at stake for it. Celene is a 17-year-old girl who is engaged to be married and has a very narrow, conservative view of the world. Making her a goody-two-shoes would have been a better upgrade to her character than this extremely condescending version of what Reese Witherspoon did so perfectly in Cruel Intentions. But in that film, the characters actually made us like them, with all of their flaws, which is something this movie completely fails to do.
Tristan is in a relationship with Vanessa, but it is fake and serves the purpose of giving them points for social media. To keep up with the bet, he organizes a play with the help of Celene to raise money for a student’s operation. While preparing for it, he asks Celene out on a date, where, much to his irritation, she shows up with Charlotte, her cousin who previously spent 10 years in a convent. However, that doesn’t stop him from kissing Celene, who gets angry and storms off. Tristan comes to know that Charlotte had told her to be careful with him as he is known for getting into bets that ruin people’s lives. Knowing this, he decides to take revenge by sleeping with Charlotte. Luckily, that doesn’t pan out, and we save ourselves and the characters some serious trauma.
As the story develops, we see that Tristsan and Celene are slowly falling in love with each other. At one point, just as both of them are about to sleep with each other, Celene tells Tristan that she is a virgin, making Tristan stop in his tracks as his conscience starts troubling him in the wake of his new-found love for her. That day, her fiance, Pierre, comes to visit her, and she confesses that she has feelings for Tristan, leading to her break-up.
Days go by as both of them try to come to terms with their feelings for each other. And while that is happening, Charlotte is having the time of her life. She started out as a character who, having spent her entire life in a convent, is somewhat socially inept and is more than eager to explore her life. This was initially presented as a joke for the audience, which truly baffled us. Why is a girl who is trying to discover herself, so funny just because she wears her heart on her sleeve? But the makers took it in the right direction. Charlotte has always been confident in herself, and she does fall in love, just as people fall in love with her. This was sweet to see.
Back to Tristan and Celene, after a heart-to-heart one day, he confesses to her that his relationship with Vanessa was never real and that he was in love with Celene. He just realized it the other day. Celene lets him know that she broke up with Pierre. Both Tristan and Celene spend the night together. As the day of the play approaches, Vanessa figures out the equations between the people and starts thinking about how to best use them to her advantage. She leaks a clip of Charlotte with both Oscar and the other girl, forcing her to drop out of the play at the last minute out of sheer embarrassment. And in the play itself, she plays all of her cards to place herself at the top of the social ladder.
‘Dangerous Liaisons’ Ending Explained – Do Celene And Tristan Get Back Together? Are Vanessa’s Secrets Revealed?
When Tristan confesses to Vanessa that he is in love with Celene and plans on calling off their fake relationship, Vanessa blackmails him to break up with Celene, or she will reveal all of her secrets. Tristan, not having a choice, breaks up with her on stage, with Vanessa stepping in and letting her know that it was all a bet. At the end of it, Vanessa doesn’t keep her end of the deal and puts up a story on Instagram saying that her boyfriend, “Tristan,” cheated on her with “Celene,” and she is now heartbroken. Following this revelation, she walks on stage to applause, as the new queen of social media due to her personal tragedy—a sight that could have been out of a “Black Mirror” episode.
But her joy is short-lived as Tristan releases a clip of her saying that she hates all of her followers, and he also reveals that their relationship was fake from the beginning. This causes an uproar, and the tide turns against her. On the other hand, Celene witnesses all of this, and she finds Tristan to tell him that she forgives him and wants to renew their relationship. This was the sort of ending that finally made us realize why the original tragic ending of the story was a better option. So yes, Tristan and Celene end up together, which, in our opinion, should not have happened. And Vanessa’s secrets are revealed, something we are seriously iffy about.
Final Thoughts: What Doesn’t Work For ‘Dangerous Liaisons’?
We have to question-why did we choose to remake “Dangerous Liaisons” out of all the stories out there? That work, which came out more than 200 years ago, had a very sketchy depiction of consent. Today, with our better understanding of the concept, how can we not see why the story is so problematic? Yes, they showed that Tristan was glad that he did not sleep with Charlotte, but let’s understand that that was because it meant he still had a chance with Celene, not because he thought there was something wrong with sleeping with a girl for revenge. And the whole concept itself of getting intimate with someone to win a bet needs to be eradicated from television. The classic worked because of the sensibilities of its time. But this is a new era, with a better understanding of things, and it is despicable that we still turn to this story to make a few dollars. That being said, the movie made an attempt to be quick, and that succeeded. What did not work was how one-dimensional the characters were, and the high horse that Celene took was just not justifiable in any sense.
We would never recommend this movie to anyone, because “Dangerous Liaisons,” as a classic with all of its subsequent adaptations, needs to be erased from public memory forever.
“Dangerous Liaisons” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Rachel Suissa.