Eighteen years ago, I published some research on the evolutionary psychology of intersexual and intrasexual mating deception. At the time, I remember not being able to get this film out of my head. Based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons is a near perfect expression of the deceptive tactics engaged in by men and women in their romantic machinations. While there are themes in this film that go beyond deception, this seems to me to be the thread that weaves the narrative together.
Male intersexual deception appears to center on presenting oneself as more in love with/enamored by the woman in question than one actually is, as well as deceptively higher in status. Female intersexual deception is, relative to males, more focused on physical appearance enhancement. It is important to understand that these reflect relative comparisons and not absolute expectations.
This behavior can be seen in full display in Dangerous Liaisons. It is a remarkable, beautifully scripted film and I would love to hear any of your thoughts about it.