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Notes on a Scandal

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An Intense, Powerful Story Ignited by Dench and Blanchett

    NOTES ON A SCANDAL invites the audience to read the diary of a very lonely, crusty, frumpy, acerbic history teacher Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) through the voice-over narrative throughout this challenging, harsh, but very brave cinematic version on the novel 'What Was She Thinking: Notes on a Scandal' by Zoe Heller, brilliantly adapted for the screen by Patrick Marber. It is a success on every level - story, direction, cinematography, and especially acting. Barbara Covett (Dench) is a fierce disciplinarian in a school populated by children who are more interested in drugs and misbehavior than in learning. She has no life except with her aging cat Portia, spending her lonely hours away from the classroom making entries into a journal. Into this icy atmosphere comes a new art teacher, the luminously beautiful free-spirited Sheba (very significantly short for Bathsheba!) Hart (Cate Blanchett). Barbara notices Sheba's presence at first with critical disdain then with fascination: Sheba is new to teaching, having 'wasted' her life as a potential artist by marrying too early her senior teacher Richard (Bill Nighy) and mothering two children, teenage Polly (Juno Temple) and Down's Syndrome Ben (Max Lewis), and now wanting to make something interesting of her life. Sheba enters into an affair with 15-year-old Steven Connolly (Andrew Simpson), a lad who wins her attention first through sympathy ploy for his 'bad home life' and eventually conquers her better judgment by paying physical attention and gratification to her. Barbara secretly observes the couple en flagrant and lets her new friend know of her discovery of an act that is criminal. The manner in which Barbara gains Sheba's attention by keeping Sheba's explosively dangerous behavior a shared secret leads to a fulfillment of Barbara's wish to not spend her life alone: she is in love with Sheba and will stop at nothing to have Sheba to herself. But when Sheba is unable to stop her sensual dalliance with Steven, Barbara begins a course of events that leads to destruction of all kinds. The journal entries tell it all in scrupulous detail. The entire cast is superb, much to the credit of director Richard Eyre (Stage Beauty, Iris, The Ploughman's Lunch, and multiple television adaptations of classics). His sense of pacing the action is overwhelmingly fine. For this viewer the musical score by the gifted Philip Glass is successful in maintaining tension, but is far more mundane than his other scores and composing - and the music drowns the dialog far too often. But this is a minor flaw when compared to the intelligent, sensitive, subtle, completely credible performances by both Dench and Blanchett. They are the epitome of fine actors and watching them work is an awe-inspiring pleasure. The film deals with difficult subject matter but succeeds in steering clear of sensationalism to present the sad inner lives of two disparate yet similar women. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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