Kathryn Merteuil aka Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil

February 07, 2011

"I hate it when things don't go my way. It makes me so horny."
- Kathryn Merteuil, Cruel Intentions (1999)

Before Gossip Girl, there was Cruel Intentions, a modern retelling of Choderlos de Laclos' 18th century novel Les Liaisons dangereuses. It reacquaints us with the amoral Marquise de Merteuil, recast as Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar). 

Upper East Side's teenage queen bee, Kathryn is the best engineer of sex for miles around her campus—more than she cared to admit publicly. Virgins and prudes are eyesores to her. She made a bet with her stepbrother, Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe), to deflower the prissy Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon), the stakes of which are a Jaguar and a one-night stand. 

In a related scheme, she sought to avenge herself on the man who rejected her by pimping his new cherie, the innocent Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair). The two even shared a picturesque kiss, forever setting the bar high for lesbian cinema. 

Sounds familiar? Glenn Close was equally vicious as the Marquise in the Oscar-nominated version, Dangerous Liaisons

"'Cruelty.' I always think that has a nobler ring to it." 
- Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

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