"Cruel Intentions" and its Music, 20 Years Later

Glamor, mischief, beauty, and deception are all themes of the 1999 cult classic, “Cruel Intentions,” starring Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Geller, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair.

The drama, inspired by the 18th century novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, tells the story of scheming step-siblings, Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil, who perform acts of romantic and sexual deceit while taunting each other in an intimate fashion. Though somewhat of a dark comedy, the film eventually shows the softer, more evolved side of its initial “anti-hero” protagonist, Sebastian, as he beautifully experiences his own twisted coming of age story.

Well, today, March 6, 2019, is the 20 year anniversary of this beloved and influential teen flick, and as I listened through the unique “Cruel Intentions” soundtrack, I felt inspired to curate my own take on the dark yet spunky album. The post-gothic digital era styles reflected in the adolescents of both 1999 and 2019 seem to mirror each other in a symbiotic fashion, and the evolution of style, as impacted by cult class teen dramas such as “Cruel Intentions,” help build the identity of many young people in the current day.

Mixing more modern, sexy, and soulful vibes from vbnd and rowdy math-pop from Squid with the original soundtrack’s Fatboy Slim and The Verve, this playlist, to me is a perfect collage of how the film’s influence and aesthetics have maintained a presence in what it means to be an aging teen.

Enjoy the tunes, and happy 20 years!

Caroline Whyte