It is pre-Revolution France. The Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte de Valmot (John Malkovich) are decadent members of the Paris aristocracy. The Marquise challenges the Vicomte to conquer young Cecile (Uma Thurman), the wife-to-be of an old friend. However, the perverse Vicomte prefers to work upon the seduction of Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), a married and moral young aquaintance. The sexual and social repercussions of the seduction has disastrous effects. The film won Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.