Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teen years are a time for exploration rather than lifelong commitments. Friends should support each other and be kind. Your number of Instagram followers defines your fame and power in today's society.
Positive Role Models
Célène is a bookish and smart student who is still grieving the loss of her mother. She doesn't stand for foolish or bullying behavior by teen boys. Vanessa is a manipulative, cruel, and spoiled former child star. Tristan also uses people, though he gains a conscience when he falls in love. Charlotte just wants to have fun after years in a religious school.
The film is set in France and filmed in French. The friend group at the elite high school is diverse, with Black, White, and Asian heritage actors starring in lead role. Characters are all wealthy.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Teens appear to attempt suicide, or at least not care to avoid it, by throwing themselves in the ocean and walking on a high ledge while drunk. A girl falls unconscious after a wave submerges her undersea, and she has to be pulled out and cared for. A car almost hits a boy and a dog. Teens bully each other online and in person. A girl is made to feel unnecessarily concerned about her weight. There are bribes and purposefully hurtful challenges as well as shared videos of people in sexual situations. A boy teases another on crutches then is punched, though it's all a set-up.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens have sex. No intimate body parts are shown besides a man's naked bottom. One scene has what looks like a drug-fueled orgy at a high school party, with couples and threesomes kissing, touching, and writhing in various parts of the house. A throuple is wed in the closing credits. A girl reads instructions to use a condom for the first time. Oral sex is suggested in more than one scene. A sex quiz goes around a class with renderings of penises. A girl admits she's a virgin and asks her partner if having sex will "hurt." Another virgin is told to have her first time be with someone she doesn't care about. A girl talks about "going insane" without boys at an all-girls school. There's talk of "sucking off a monk," a near-successful attempt to seduce a principal, "foreplay, oral included," "f--kplay, front and back," "cream pie."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Regular use and variations on "f--k" and "s--t," "damn," "ass," "bitch," "hell," "whore," "bimbo," "bastard," "jerk," "dumb," "stupid," "snob," "airheads," "queen." The film was reviewed in the original French with English subtitles.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Instagram, Range Rover, Peugeot, Tony Awards, FaceTime, The Voice, Botox.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink, smoke marijuana and cigarettes, take pills, sniff cocaine, and sell drugs. At a party, people are stumbling around, engaging in drug-fueled sexual encounters and passing out.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dangerous Liaisons (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), a French film based on the 1782 novel, portrays a diverse and wealthy group of teens obsessed with their social media followers, behaving cruelly toward each other, drinking and taking drugs, having sex, and apparently attempting suicide. There's also a lot of language, including "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "ass," "bitch," "hell," "whore," "bimbo," and other insults. Teens drink, smoke marijuana and cigarettes, take pills, sniff cocaine, and sell drugs. At a party, people stumble around, pass out, and engage in drug-fueled sexual encounters. Teens have sex, and their intimacy is sometimes filmed and shared by others on social media. No intimate body parts are shown besides a man's naked bottom. There are multi-party pairings (including a throuple wed in the closing credits). A girl reads instructions to use a condom for the first time, oral sex is suggested in more than one scene, a sex quiz goes around a class with renderings of penises, and there is crude sexual language used. Two teens appear to attempt suicide and both also suffer near-fatal accidents (one in front of a moving car, the other surfing). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.