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Parents' Guide to

Dangerous Liaisons

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Racy French adaptation has teen sex, drinking, drugs.

Movie NR 2022 109 minutes
Dangerous Liaisons Movie: Scene #1

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Looking to piggyback off other recent successes, like Spanish series Elite, this French film lacks the self-awareness that distinguishes a guilty pleasure from a negative portrayal of teens. Dangerous Liaisons ticks all the boxes to be a hit on Netflix, and that's part of its problem. Its creators ask us to believe we live in a global culture, so mean girls, dumb boys, surfers, rappers, and Instagram-obsessed, English-speaking teens exist wherever you go -- even Biarritz. But they might owe Gen Z an apology. These teens feel like exaggerated stereotypes taken from other films and series more than real life, or at least you hope so by the end of the movie.

Based very loosely on the 18th century novel that has inspired many other film versions, this one breaks high school society down to a comparison of 1782 Versailles royals, with today's teens being judged by their positions on social media. It's as cringe-y as it is clever. The actors all seem talented, especially in scenes allowing them to dance, sing, and act in a play within the film. Locatelli in particular is charming as the ingénue, and Janjaud is hilarious as her cousin. But the tale's mixed message is summarized in the way Célène's life improves once she gives up her principles, adopts the online handle Lady F--Kit, and gathers millions of followers on Instagram.

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