Notes on a Scandal
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  • Absolutely 5 Stars
    Subject matter aside which will offend some .. This is a *glorious* film watching experience. Just gorgeous!

    Brilliant. One hundred percent bloody brilliant. Cate Blanchett is excellent, really excellent. Judi Dench, however, is a tour de force. WOW!! How she escaped the oscar I have NO idea. She is phen-o-menal.

    All the supporting actors fit well. Love the young man .. he did a great job, which is hit and miss with the younger actors.

    The script is absolutely flawless and really achingly beautiful at times. Someone put a lot of thought and heart into this. This movie flows. Repeat ... It is a gloriously well done film!!...more info
  • Disturbing but also amazing
    This character driven masterpiece features some of the best acting I've seen in a very long time. I usually find British films tedious, but this one moves along at a good pace. It has some disturbing subject matter but everything about it rings true. If you're tired of the same old same old, and want something totally engaging, I highly recommend this one....more info
  • Is There Anything These Ladies Can't Do?
    The list of cinema actors gifted with the ability to dig into virtually any script and make it Oscar-worthy territory without the aid of superstar status is a short one. Luckily for screenwriter Patrick Marber, the genius casting of acting powerhouses Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett in his "Notes On a Scandal" amplifies it to classic status.

    From Zo? Heller's hit source novel, the film is a gripping, thoroughly entertaining study of obsession and alienation. It flirts with some trite clich¨¦s of the character-driven suspense genre, but in the hands of these actresses the averagely entertaining material takes a major upgrade.

    Dench is Barbara Covett, a schoolteacher close to retirement who rules her classroom with a heavy hand, but otherwise lives an empty life, referring to her calendar as an "arctic wilderness." She is respected by her colleagues, but they keep their distance from the intimidating eccentric. Barbara is thus drawn immediately to the lovely new art teacher Sheba Hart, portrayed by Blanchett; a fly to be lured unwittingly into the ever-growing web of Barbara's topsy-turvy fantasy world that is well-documented in her long-winded diary entries. Dench is, as always, spellbinding, even delivering a few comedic one-line zingers with finesse in this otherwise twisted tale. It is impossible to pay attention to anything else while she is onscreen.

    Barbara's inner dialogue sweeps the film along through its tight 90 minutes, revealing her disturbing preoccupation with Sheba, yet both she and her new friend remain unaware of the gravity of her mental roadblocks. They rise to the surface with a vengeance, however, when she catches Sheba committing a lewd act with an amorous 15 year-old named Patrick Connolly, played convincingly by Andrew Simpson. Shocked initially, she soon realizes her ability to exploit this vital information and take a position of power over her friend, nursing her own obsessions all the while.

    Blanchett shines playing a character that could have easily been overshadowed by the imposing Barbara. Marber succeeds in making Sheba more than just the eye of Barbara's storm of obsession, but Blanchett carries her over the threshold to the multi-faceted level. Sure, Sheba may seem to an extremely lucky woman - striking good looks, a faithful, loving husband, two wonderful children (albeit one in need of extra attention due to a mental handicap), a fulfilling job and lack of financial worry - but nothing in her life is the stuff of storybooks. Underneath her skin, pent-up passion yearns to spring free - but will this very passion prove her undoing?

    Both Barbara and Sheba have more in common than each other realizes. As Barbara demonstrates, playing cat and mouse is easy when you hold all the cards. An all-around entertaining film full of intrigue and rich characterization.
    ...more info
  • Spectacular performance by Judi, but I don't see how anyone can take this film seriously
    I saw this in a theater and not on dvd, so I cannot comment on the quality of the dvd itself. As for the film, I was laughing a lot throughout it. The character Barbara's lines are so over-the-top in their ridiculousness that I don't see how anyone could take this film seriously. About a half-hour into the film I found myself thinking how this is a future camp classic, something that catty drag queens will be quoting to their friends for the next few generations.

    As for the score by Phillip Glass, I must confess that before I started to appreciate this film because of its humor I was annoyed by the score. Not only is it typical, repetitive Phillip Glass music but it also seemed at odds with the story during some scenes. Then the dinner party scene occurred: During what is a basically restrained conversation, the music is extremely loud and urgent. My annoyance at the score turned into admiration for the director for his brilliant decision to hire Glass to do the score. Surely he was in on the joke I was perceiving, too, and was trying to create a more mainstream version of an early John Waters film. If not, how else to explain all of this film's excesses?

    Who knew that a film about a pedophile teacher and a dangerously crazy, lonely, old woman could bring so much laughter?

    As a comedy I would give this 4.5 stars. As a drama I would give it 2 stars. Because Judi does such a good job with her campy lines, I will bump up the average of my two ratings to 4 stars....more info
  • A gold star film
    This was not an easy movie to watch due to the subject matter, but the 2 actors featured give the most amazing performances.

    Judi Dench is awesome in whatever she does, but the cunning manipulative spinster is taken to a whole new chilling level here.

    Cate Blanchett likewise has a great talent, and here, she seems quiet, 'deer in the headlights', as Dench's character thinks, until she decides to fight back for what she wants.

    Very clever and subtle throughout, with everything contributing to the shocking conclusion. The dead cat and trowel scene was something straight out of Hitchcock, with not quite so horrifying results, but still a very chilling film about the nature of [sexual] obsession/s....more info
  • Subject of Lesbians Leaves Piquant But Somtimes Sour Taste
    Perhaps this movie deserves five stars. Certainly the performances of the two main stars (particularly that of Judi Dench) were magnificent. Still, there were a few places where I found myself being steered unintentionally down a wrong path.

    One thing I felt was a mistake was the sequence in which we are told of Sheba's affair with Steven. This was done entirely through Sheba's flashback, in which the boy pursues Sheba with an aggression I found incompatible with a fifteen year old boy's level of maturity. Consequently, I was unsure whether Sheba was slanting the story to reduce her own complicity in the crime. If that were true, it would change the complexion of the crime and the complexity of her character and it would have driven the story in a different direction. Eventually, I realized that we were to believe implicitly Sheba's flashback and then I understood where the story was going. But for a short time, I was considering both storylines and I felt distracted by this.

    Toward the end of the film, there was a scene in which Sheba was made up in what seemed to me to be `drag', with heavy eye make up and comical lipstick. At first, I didn't realize that it was Sheba. I found by listening to the director's commentary that this was supposed to be Sheba reverting back to the carefree happy days of her youth that we had seen earlier in a photograph. However, at the time I was unsure why she was made up like that and I felt it undermined the fierce emotions that were brilliantly depicted in the blow-up that ensued.

    Occurring immediately after this we found the two women in a quiet and touching scene in which they conclusively agreed to end their friendship/relationship. The problem was that after the blow-up that previously occurred, I couldn't imagine that Sheba would have anything more to do with Barbara; certainly she never would have turned around and gone back into Barbara's home. I was so taken aback by this non sequitur that at first I thought I must have missed something.

    I thought the movie should have ended sooner - when Barbara spotted her next victim on her favorite bench on Parliament Hill reading a newspaper article about Sheba and said, "I knew her." A chill ran down my spine at this point, but was dispelled by the dialog that followed. The bit with the milk on Annabelle's nose, reminiscent of a similar bit with Sheba, was cute but at best wholly unnecessary; the denouement had already been achieved quite effectively.

    I felt that other than these missteps, this movie was moving and powerful. I recommend it.

    ...more info
  • Oh Wow.
    That's right.Oh wow.Talk about the mother of sex scandals involving school teachers and their students,this movie hit the nail right on the head.Admitt it.We did had a crush on our favorite school teachers.The performance by Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench was in my opinion,OSCAR.I would give one to each of them.Here in the United States we would think it our problem.But we are now seeing it worlwide.I got a funny feeling this will not be the last movie about a teacher student sex scandal....more info
  • "But, oh, but what marvellous intensity it is!"
    Notes On A Scandal packs action, intrigue, secrets and outstanding acting into a dramatic thriller to keep you keenly interested, to say the least. It's an excellent film; the script and acting combine to draw you into the plot, making you care about the characters to a degree that you normally don't. The choreography shines bright in crowd scenes and the scenes filmed inside the school; and the cinematography lacks nothing whatsoever. Notes On A Scandal is powerful; and it's not for the faint of heart nor is it a "family" film.

    When the action begins, we quickly meet both Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) and Barbara Covett (Dame Judi Dench) who work at Saint George's School somewhere in England. Sheba is a new art teacher; and her youth and inexperience show through pretty clearly when the rather astute Barbara easily sizes her up. We also come to see that Barbara is a pretty tough cookie at the school who teaches no nonsense history classes. Barbara leads a rather lonely life since her last relationship with a woman named Jennifer ended; she lives with her old cat in an apartment and keeps a diary with lengthy entries and gold stars pasted into the diary as well. In addition, Barbara has her eyes on Sheba as a possible romantic interest although no one in the school is aware of this.

    Sheba, trying to be friendly and fit in with her new colleagues, invites Barbara over to her home for lunch one Sunday afternoon. Barbara meets Sheba's family: her older husband Richard (Bill Nighy), her daughter Polly (Juno Temple) and Sheba's son Ben (Max Lewis) who has Down's Syndrome. At first Barbara isn't completely sure how to approach Sheba to trap her for her own; but one night Barbara accidentally witnesses Sheba and a student named Steven Connolly (Andrew Simpson) sharing romantic time together. Barbara gets Sheba to confess all to her; Barbara now has all the information she needs to be able to bully, manipulate and possibly even blackmail Sheba into a more romantic relationship with her instead of Steven or her husband Richard.

    The plot thickens. Although Sheba tries hard to end it with Steven; Steven won't take no for an answer and Barbara feels threatened and angry with Sheba for "betraying" her. Moreover, when Sheba goes to her son Ben's play instead of the vet where Barbara's cat is dying, Barbara looses her cool and finds a way to let another person from the school know that Sheba and Steven are a pair.

    What will this all bring? So far, Sheba's husband, Barbara, Steven and even the man from the school all want a romantic relationship with Sheba. Who will Sheba choose--and what price will Sheba pay for having relations with an underage student? What about Barbara--does she find a way to force Sheba to give in and experience a romance with her? Will Sheba ever be able to tell Barbara off or get even with her? Watch and find out!

    The DVD boasts some excellent extras. I particularly liked the "behind the scenes" featurette; and we get an optional running commentary by director Richard Eyre. There is another bonus entitled In Character with Cate Blanchett.

    Notes On A Scandal reaches out to grab your attention from the word go and it never lets you go until the end. The superb acting enhances the quality of this motion picture all the more. I highly recommend this film for both fans of the actors in this movies and fans of thrillers with well thought out drama.
    ...more info
  • Topicality meets award-winning acting
    While this film could easily have crossed the boundaries of good taste, it is the electricity of the two female leads that sets this film about real life illicit romance, secrets, subterfuge and lies apart from exploitation. Based loosely on someone's book, and with a great deal of the real-life Mary Kay Letourneau story thrown in, "Notes On A Scandal" are literally the notes one of the female leads keeps in her diary about the schoolboy-school teacher romance the other one is conducting.

    Kate Blanchett plays the wayward teacher in the mold of Letourneau, the real-life schoolteacher whose love affair with an underaged schoolboy led to her birthing two children by him, being convicted of statutory rape and doing a stini in prison for it,and later marrying him. While many of the seemingly all blond, young and nice looking teachers that have made the papers the last few years appear similar to Letourneau -- including Blanchett's sympathetic performance as her clone -- they were in fact mostly quite different. Letourneau actually loved the boy; most of these teachers just wanted something frilly and exciting in their lives and chose the outlet closest to them to achieve that. Many of them already has bikini or other leering photos posted on their MySpace sites before they engaged in the illegal activity.

    While Blanchett demonstrates Oscar-worthy acting in the role as a British teacher in a school of lowlife students, Judi Densch is equally adept (perhaps even better) in her role as Blanchett's confidant, the coworker that keeps her secret life in exchange for their budding friendship. It seems Densch's character has specialized in certain forms of friendship throughout her life, as a scene with a school administrator makes clear late in the film. It helps you understand -- if you hadn't guessed it already -- that Densch's grip on Blanchett is far beyond friendship and forms another boundary of exploitation in this film that looks perversely into our sexual underground far more than anything we saw in the ultra-sexed "Kinsey" biopic from a few years back.

    So four stars for this interesting and exquisitely well-acted (by some of the supporting players, too) film about modern day problems given a twist by Londonwood (it's a British film, after all.) This is twice as good as the best murdered beauty queen film you've ever seen and 100 times better than any movie of the week about a similar topic. Check it out if you topical filmmaking dotted with quite excellent acting....more info
  • Judy Dench is masterful - a great movie
    What a movie -- did not expect it to be so good. Judy Dench is masterful (as always), and the rest of the characters turned in good acting jobs as well - Cate Blanchett is totally believable as a lost-her-way kind of character. See it!...more info
  • Dark, bold and overwhelming!
    This has to be one of the most bold and amazing piece of cinema. Rarely you get to see films that have your eyes glued at the screen. Judi Dench, she did shock and scare me both, she is at her very best in this film. Cate does an excellent work as well, she was amazing. The film, may seem to go slow initially but soon catches a rapid pace. Fine and flamboyant acting makes the film worth a watch. ...more info
  • Highly Recommend, Good, Solid Movie.
    This is my favorite movie with Cate Blanchett of all time. She plays the character of a wife and mother of 2, and now a school teacher. The turmoil she creates in her life seems like it is done because she is simply bored, and wants some adventure. She is beautiful, captivating, and sexy.

    She becomes friendly with the character Barbara, played by Judy Dench, who is a fellow school teacher. She becomes entranced with Cate. As the movie progresses, she wants more and more of her attention, and the intimate secret they share becomes more and more convoluted.

    Judy Dench is wonderful, she is eerie yet something about her character feels so familiar and close to home.

    Highly recommend as a good, solid movie.

    ...more info
  • Just alright
    I found this film to be very odd. I thought it would be interesting and different and of course with these types of actors in it, It seemed like a great equation. However, I was practically bored to tears watching this. I tried to get into it, but the whole plot seemed pointless and odd. And towards the end it just became ridiculous and I didn't care what happened to anybody in the film....more info
  • Not what I was expecting. Watch for the acting *possible spoiler*
    I watched this movie last weekend On Demand, and after waiting so long and having people hype it up for me, I was very let down. The acting was top notch, given what they had to work with, but beyond that, it wasn't worth the hype.

    I couldn't connect w/any of the characters. For me, everything was on the surface. Yes, Cate and Dame Dench did a good job, but they almost seemed to be phoning it in. I couldn't feel a thing for either one of these women. I'm gonna assume that we were to feel for CB's character, but she had zero redeeming qualities. Her affair sickened me, and when she had her first scene w/the student, I had to check IMDb to check his age. He was 20, I think, but looked so young that it creeped me out and turned my stomach.

    And there was no resolution to the story. Dench's character just moved on to another victim. Waste of time, and it makes me hesitant to read the book.

    ...more info
  • Sympathizing with the Devil...
    The subject matter of `Notes on a Scandal' may shock and offend some. The storyline follows a torrid affair between a middle-aged teacher and her fifteen-year-old student. That is not all though. The story is told from the perspective of an older teacher who has lusty feelings for the guilty teacher and thus uses the affair as blackmail to gain control of her life.

    Sheba Hart is a young teacher, in her mid-thirties I would guess; married to an older man, mother to a teenage daughter and a special needs son. Barbara Covett is an older teacher who lives alone with her cats and has a hard time keeping close friends. This is most likely due to her chilly demeanor and controlling and manipulative gestures; but who am I to judge. Sheba is beautiful in appearance and draws the attention of one young boy in the school, Steven Connolly. She also draws the attention of Barbara, an infatuation that proves disastrous. Barbara, determined to form a relationship with Sheba, pursues her and ultimately catches her in a compromising position with Steven, a position she uses in order to get control of her life. Instead of turning Sheba in, Barbara takes advantage of the opportunity to prove friendship and loyalty to Sheba; all she asks of in return is Sheba's unfailing devotion.

    `Notes on a Scandal' does a masterful job of fleshing out Barbara's malicious and domineering qualities, thanks in large part to Dame Judi Dench's masterful performance. What it fails to really do is flesh out Sheba. We understand that Sheba is not fully satisfied with her marriage, but it's never made clear as to why. Whenever she is shown with her family she seems to be having a wonderful time. We understand also that she has had a hard time raising her son, but she never shows any signs of resentment or irritation towards him or her situation. She mentions that Steven's advancements made her feel wanted and special and that she felt as though she deserved this one bad act because she had been good all her life. This makes the most sense, I just wish that the film had expounded on that.

    That is my one main issue with `Notes on a Scandal'. A film of this nature requires a running time of at least two hours in order to truly be effective. The ninety minutes allow for `Notes...' to become a decent thriller but fails to allow it to become the intricate character study it's longing to be. We get to see and feel Barbara's indecent longings but never truly get inside Sheba and thus Barbara's longings become unwarranted, for we as the audience can't understand Sheba's draw. Yes, she is attractive and flirtatious and impish in a way, but is there any depth to Barbara's passions for her. Is there something under the surface that makes Barbara confess "this is the one I've been waiting for"?

    As a result of the short running time we are forced to side with Sheba even though her actions are repulsive. By never really allowing us to know her we in effect feel sorry for her for she is painted as the victim of a sick and twisted game. Barbara, who is obviously the super villain here, takes the place of Sheba's horrific act and Sheba thus demands our sympathies. Had the fill stretched out another thirty to forty minutes we may have been able to truly separate the two instances and found the evil in both characters.

    Still, much must be said for the impressive acting on the part of everyone in the cast. Dame Judi Dench is marvelous as Barbara. She really got under her characters skin and in effect got under mine as well. I get the feeling that Judi is always playing Judi though. In almost every film role she does you get that same arrogance that permeates her last performance. It never seems like a stretch for her. That said; this is her finest performance to date for that arrogance pays off beautifully. Cate Blanchett is a beautiful and talented actress who commands the screen as Sheba. Despite the fact that the script barely allows her to become real to us Cate still masterfully weaves through Sheba's actions and motives. Bill Nighy also amazed me as Sheba's betrayed husband Richard. His final explosion on Sheba is heartbreaking and real.

    In the end `Notes on a Scandal' is a fine film, a tightly woven thriller, and when taken as such it proves to be quite satisfying. It fleshes out well the consequences of obsession and the follies of lust, at least on the part of Barbara's character. I don't know if I'd give this movie a golden star, but definitely a silver one. A little improvement on the script would have been nice; but then again, I've never read the novel and so maybe this adaptation was truly faithful and accurate. I still feel that it needed a little tweaking in order to uncover it's true potential. `Notes...' had everything it needed to become a truly stout and meaningful character study; I just wish it had realized it....more info
  • A woman scorned
    Lonely high school teacher Barbara Covett (Judi Dench)'s only confidant is her diary, in which she records her intimate thoughts and frequent delusions of happiness. Young Sheba (Cate Blanchett) joins the faculty and Barbara's fascination with her soon turns to obsession. When she discovers Sheba's affair with a student, Barbara agrees to keep the secret, but her unreasonable demands of Sheba's time and loyalty lead to disaster.

    What a movie! It is absolutely wonderful. Both Dench and Blanchett were justly nominated for Academy Awards for their performances, and I couldn't take my eyes off of them. Dench plays a really sick, manipulating woman who does scary things, and yet has such a pathetic life one can't help but feel sorry for her. Blanchett has never looked more beautiful; she plays a complex woman with a seemingly happy family life who still feels unfulfilled, and looks for happiness from a young boy.

    This film is well-written, insightfully directed, and the acting could not be better. Heartily recommended to those who enjoy emotional character studies....more info
  • Excellent performances all round
    Really top class acting by all concerned. Judi Dench has it to a tea, the buttoned up school mistress, down to the way she smokes her cigarettes and deals with the death of her cat. A stellar performance.

    Cate Blanchett doesn't get as much screen time, obviously, but when she does, all eyes are on her. She does an excellent job of the sensitive issue with her relationship with the young man-great acting job by Andrew Simpson.

    Bill Nighy as the wronged husband is pitch-perfect.

    A very serious subject, dark and repressed, if not depressed, but it ends on a high note with all having learned their lesson, except the sinister 'vampire' Judi Dench.

    A gripping movie you should watch at least twice to get the full picture of every nuance.
    ...more info
  • Performance Magic!!!!
    "Notes on a Scandal" is a superb showcase for the mighty acting talents of Judi Dench & Cate Blanchett. They absolutely complemented each other - neither one taking anything away from the other's performance.

    The story revolves around two female school teachers, one, hopelessly involved with one of her students, the other, hopelessly involved with the other teacher. It is also a rather scathing look at the dark side of love.

    An even more interesting observation is that quite frankly, neither character was a sympathetic one. Cate's character, Sheba, was less so simply because she knew better - to become sexually involved with one of your students is simply exercising very poor judgement. Moreover, there was no real indication why she allowed/needed this to happen - there was no real issue in her marriage to support her having an affair. Somehow her revelation that the marriage was "somewhat boring" is, unfortunately not even remotely sufficient enough to understand/explain her behavior...(her son had Downs Syndrome, for godsakes....)

    Judi's character, Barbara, began as somewhat sympathetic until she decided to use her friend's secret to her advantage - all in the name of love. Even after learning of the unfortunate demise of a similar relationship, this does not at all excuse her vindictive, obsessive actions.

    The emotional rollercoaster provided here was certainly enough to keep one interested in what happens to these two women.

    However, the real prize is watching these two wonderful actresses bring such a tenuous situation to film. They do so quite admirably.

    I hiiiiiiiiiiiighly reccommend!!!
    ...more info
  • Pretty cool film, if you like that kind of stuff

    I feel badly for Judi Dench. Not because of her performance, because there wasn't anything bad about it--at all. I feel badly because Notes on a Scandal came out the same year as The Queen. Neither are up for best Picture, but both have best Actress heavyweights. (To see my review on The Queen, scroll down.) This one is all about Dench. She's such an elegant, talented woman that she can mesh herself into any role from Proulx's ancient matriarch to the Queen of the free world to a lesbian psycho-spinster who lives vicariously through younger, beautiful, successful women. Barbara Covett (Dench) is the history department chair at a British school whose former art teacher has left for reasons unknown when the movie begins. Cate Blanchett dances into the role of the new art teacher with aplomb and blonde hair that glistens like a beacon in a dreary school yard where she becomes the focus of a 15-year-old paramour. A paramour who Blanchett permits to seduce her, since she's in a drole life as Bill Nighy's younger wife whose children are a young boy with Down Syndrome and a teenage girl the same age as her lover.

    Notes on a Scandal is just that. A refreshingly original plot narrated in voice over by Dench who interprets the actions of the film in her off-kiltered, soul-searching way. She inhibits every scene seamlessly weaving intrigue, lust, envy, and blackmail into a tail that comes down to lost love, obsession, and pure loneliness. Blanchett shines as Sheba who struggles against herself, but she fails to convince me of how bad her life really is. She has inherited a lovely old row house outside of London, her writer husband adores her, her daughter seems as dysfunctional as the rest of us, and her son is the love of her life. What more can she want? I suppose Dench just wants to replace her former obsession with a new one, and cares more about her cat than the people around her.

    I will continue to see Blanchett movies, but Hudson needs to prove herself to me.

    The cyclic ending to Notes on a Scandal is bittersweet, pleasing to the palette while still keeping true to the travesties of life. The movie is exactly what I thought it would be. A wonderfully delicious romp somewhere in the bowels of clandestine subterfuge between two talented, deserving Oscar nominated actresses....more info
  • Amazing.
    Dame Judy Dench and Cate Blanchette are masterful in this film about two educators and their secrets.

    Barbara (Dench) is a rather prickly teacher at a high school. She is not liked by the other faculty members, but she has been at the school for a long time (she's on the cusp of retirement) and the kids fear/respect her. Enter Sheba (Blanchette), the young, beautiful, wispy new art teacher. Barbara, who's looking for a way to end her solitude, strikes up a friendship with Sheba.

    As the story unfolds, we begin to suspect that Barbara is angling for much more than friendship with the pretty new instructor. And when Barbara discovers that Sheba is engaging in a love affair with a 15-year-old student, she is at first angry, and then devilishly delighted, as she can use the secret to further enmesh herself in the life of her new "friend."

    Barbara is one of the best characters I've seen on the screen in a while. First of all, she's our narrator, so we are privy to her innermost thoughts (which can be arresting, abhorrent, understandable, etc., at different points in the film). She's cunning. She's deperately lonely. She's almost parasitic in her need for "companionship." She is a woman of action. And Dench plays her fully, with a truth, a roundness, and a believability that one rarely sees in anti-heros.

    And, not incidentally, Barbara is a woman of a certain age. It is refreshing and wonderful to see such a vibrant character written for a woman old enough to retire. There aren't enough parts like this out there for older, more accomplished actresses. Blanchette is amazing to watch in this, but Dench truly steals the show.

    As the viewer, you begin to sense what is coming. And yet, it is fascinating to see all the strands of the web come together as the end of the film nears. The score is also very cleverly used to heighten this effect. A must-see.
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  • Melodramatic Grace
    Notes on a Scandal was one film that I never thought would intrique me. It was suggested to me by a friend whose advice on film I respect so I picked up the film. I continue to respect that friend's film advice.

    Never has a movie made me feel gritty, dirty, happy, angry, bitter, and more in a matter of five minutes. The story being told is one of the humans need to do whatever possible to obtain their utmost desire. We have Judi Dench as the nearly-retired school teacher whose obsession with younger teachers brings her into Cate Blanchett's character's new lease on life as she begins teaching again after caring for a family for years. Fortunate for Dench's obsession, Blanchett's character has a secret that will keep her in the hands of Dench's pitiful game.

    The film's pace is very steady for a drama. We're also given subtly quirky side characters to please our front runners. And as for the front runners? Judi Dench captivated me with her performance. Most of the feelings I mentioned up top sprung from her decisions with her character, Barbara. She was obviously the antagonist, but in ways, I wanted to view her as the protagonist. And Blanchett's Sheba was portrayed with just the right amount of humanity. Should I despise her for what she is doing to everyone around her, or feel sorry for her because she just falls deeper into a portal of never returning?

    Notes on a Scandal is definitely a tale of morality and trust, and for me, it hit every moment of that for me. ...more info
  • Great fun!
    After an uncomfortable hour of Middle Class coffee table navel gazing I decided "Scandal" was best treated as a comedy. A southern gothic like "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" transposed to Blighty.

    A hoot!

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  • Birds of prey
    Barbara is one of those gargoyles of a teacher we all had in junior high. Her students regard her with apprehension, but few who know her know what she really is. Barbara's a predator. A master of manipulation, her victims remain trustfully unaware of the danger that lurks until it's way too late. Notes on a Scandal is populated by users. Sure, they can differentiate right from wrong, but when it comes down to something they want, they're consciences are very flexible. But Barbara alone possesses the insidious killer instinct. Too bad she doesn't know enough not to write it all down.
    Once, again, Dame Judi displays her acting genius, and is unafraid of appearing physically as well as morally unattractive. Blanchett does well in this movie too, but her character is less compelling because her motives are rather cloudy. Notes on a Scandal is a stalker story that leaves the viewer feeling cold and in need of a long, hot shower when it ends.
    5 stars for acting, 3 for screenplay = 4 stars....more info
  • The scandal is the half of the sin!

    Notes on a scandal is one of the most extraordinary films of 2006. It's useless not to remind previous and notorious scandals in the recent past.

    This mature picture explores with impressive eloquence the sadness and hopeless life of a very young teacher who lives a boring life with a husband too much older than her and a lot of problems to face daily in her home.

    So, in order to evade herself from the quotidian reality, she will be involved with a child that even might her child , a teenager into a suede and ardent a love affair.

    But the main plot is much more ambitious, since there' s an old teacher (in a towering performance of Mrs. Judi Dench one of the two best mature English actress, the other as you may guess is Helen Mirreen), who epitomizes the symbol of the most merciless loneliness, will be the central focus of attention around the film, the way that she surreptitiously, gets to introduce into the intimate world of this young teacher, and the way she will push the bottom of red alarm will ignite a true avalanche of inner frustrations that will unchain a set of unpleasant events.

    Memorable performances of all the cast and an impeccable camerawork make of this film one of the ten best films of this year, without any hesitation.

    Don't miss it under no pretext!.
    ...more info
  • Great escape
    I read the book first, so I knew what to expect. They skipped all the boring parts and it was an entertaining film. Not a bad performance in the bunch and a decent script as well....more info