After multiple adaptations, Les Liaisons Dangereuses returns in a new teenage version 2.0 on Netflix where influencers and love games mingle. For what result?
What is it about ?
Seventeen years old, Célène is idealistic, believes in absolute love, and is more interested in reading than in social networks. Leaving Paris for Biarritz, she prepares to live for some time away from her fiancé, Pierre. Very quickly, she confronts the diabolical elite of her new high school over which reign the former star of the big screen and queen of Instagram Vanessa and the famous surfer Tristan, as dangerous as he is seductive. When she falls in love with him, Célène is far from suspecting that she is at the center of a cruel bet between Tristan and Vanessa. How far will they go?
Not so dangerous liaisons
VSlassic of French literature, Dangerous relationships has been adapted over and over again for film and television, by Roger Vadim, Stephen Frears or Milos Forman. The epistolary novel Choderlos de Laclos also had a very popular teenage pop version in the late 1990s titled Sex Intentionswhich we owe to Roger Kumble.
Today, Netflix has a new teen adaptation written and directed by Rachel Switzerland, for whom this is his first achievement. The screenplay, written in collaboration with Slimane-Baptiste Berhountakes up the main plot of the famous novel by transposing it to the present day in the era of social networks.
The young people of Liaisons Dangereuses 2.0 embark on the same love games that we know well but without the madness and sensuality of previous adaptations. This version starts from the premise that wealth, sex and social status are no longer the engines of power but rather the popularity and “fame” that one acquires on the networks.
Direction Biarritz and the Victor Hugo high school where Tristan Badiola (Simon Rerolle), surfing champion, and Vanessa Merteuil (Ella Pellegrini), former child star and famous influencer on Instagram, are the kings of the school. Their couple is fake and only serves to increase the number of their followers. To pass the time and add spice to their superficial existence, they set themselves unhealthy challenges.
Tristan’s next challenge: to seduce Célène (Paola Locatelli), a 17-year-old romantic from Paris, engaged to her boyfriend Pierre, and more interested in literature than in social networks. Although reluctant at first, Celene eventually falls in love with Tristan unaware that she is just a pawn, at least at first.
As in any self-respecting film for teens, Les Liaisons Dangereuses compiles a mandatory list of ingredients: a charming cast, complicated love stories, an idyllic setting, a pop soundtrack and a musical… on The Princess de Montpensier, a clever and identifiable choice by any French high school student.
The film takes up all the codes of American teenage comedies by trying to impose a French touch, which does not always work – like the headmaster who tries to adopt a “young language” by taking up all possible and imaginable expressions – and by elaborating dramatic moments without flavor.
In the end, we are less interested in the main romance than in the supporting roles, which bring spice and a rather sympathetic sense of humor thanks to their freshness and spontaneity. Above all, their love stories are much more thrilling, funny and interesting and one even ends up with an amazing and cute “marriage”.
The direction of actors is not always mastered and the staging sometimes leaves something to be desired for lack of clarity and coherence. A syndrome of teenage romances mixing sex, influence and love like the saga after (which fortunately ends soon) and the series Elite (which should really be stopped).
For lovers of this kind of film and series or for those who would like to watch a romantic summer comedy without the fuss, then launch Les Liaisons Dangereuses if only for the secondary characters and the few funny moments but also for the beautiful settings in Biarritz, which could interest tourists if they turn away from Emily in Paris. For others, go your own way.