Notes on a Scandal

Notes on a Scandal

4.8 5
Director: Richard Eyre, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy

Cast: Richard Eyre, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy

     
 
Lust, jealousy, and revenge come cloaked in the guise of friendship in this psychological drama. Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) is a history teacher at a high school in London; while elderly Barbara is very bright, she's also severe and domineering, with a strong personality that tends to put people off. Barbara also takes a voyeuristic

Overview

Lust, jealousy, and revenge come cloaked in the guise of friendship in this psychological drama. Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) is a history teacher at a high school in London; while elderly Barbara is very bright, she's also severe and domineering, with a strong personality that tends to put people off. Barbara also takes a voyeuristic delight in recording the actions of those around her in her diary in the most minute detail. When Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), a bright and attractive woman in her mid-thirties, is hired as the school's new art teacher, Barbara believes she may have found someone worthy of her friendship, though she's soon disappointed to discover that Sheba has a husband and two children, a lifestyle that she finds offensively bourgeois. However, Barbara's obsessive interest in Sheba is rewarded when the younger teacher confesses that one of her students, Steven (Andrew Simpson), has developed an obviously sexual interest in her. However, in fact, Steven's crush on Sheba is hardly one-sided, and in time Barbara discover that the two have been making love on a regular basis for months. When circumstances turn Barbara against Sheba, she uses what she knows about the affair to destroy the life of her "friend." Based on the novel by Zoe Heller, Notes on a Scandal also stars Bill Nighy.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Oscar nominations figured to fly with the pairing of the two leads in Notes on a Scandal -- Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, widely considered among the finest thespians of their respective generations. And sure enough, both were nominated for this frequently uncomfortable tête-à-tête, which could have been hyped as a boxing match between acting heavyweights. But the votes from their peers were no mere knee-jerk reactions to seeing their names -- each does remarkably subtle work here. While Dench's part is the more overtly juicy, allowing her to plumb the depths of bitterness inspired by rejection, Blanchett may actually have the more complicated role. Her picture-perfect bourgeois life is a sham cover for a panoply of insecurities, and at times her performance is like witnessing a bizarre anachronism -- a woman of such elegant beauty and universal appeal having rough sex with her student by the train tracks. This commingling of traits in the same character may have given some viewers pause, and at times Richard Eyre's film comes across as topical and simplistic. However, seeing the characters' barely contained rage finally erupt at each other is worth the price of admission. Notes on a Scandal joins a fine tradition of films that explore the emotional minefield of unbalanced friendships. The actresses navigate these traps through an uneasy collection of carefully modulated social responses and calculated manipulation, which are ultimately undone by moments of reckless insult or unforgivable trespass. The film cleverly invites viewers to shift loyalties multiple times during the story -- all while working toward the inevitable conclusion that both women are irredeemable. Given the delicious build-up, Notes on a Scandal concludes too tidily, with too little catharsis. But just watching Dench and Blanchett practice their craft is the antidote to any narrative imperfections.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/17/2007
UPC:
0024543438915
Original Release:
2006
Rating:
E
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:32:00

Special Features

Commentary by director Richard Eyre; Notes on a Scandal: The Story of Two Obsessions featurette; Notes on a Scandal: Behind the Scenes featurette; A Conversation With Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy featurette; In Character With Cate Blanchett featurette; Webisodes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Judi Dench Barbara Covett
Cate Blanchett Sheba Hart
Bill Nighy Richard Hart
Andrew Simpson Steven Connolly
Phil Davis Brian Bangs
Michael Maloney Sandy Pabblem
Juno Temple Polly Hart
Max Lewis Ben Hart
Joanna Scanlan Sue Hodge
Julia McKenzie Marjorie
Shaun Parkes Bill Rumer
Tom Georgeson Ted Mawson
Edna Kennedy Linda
Syreeta Kumar Gita
Wendy Nottingham Elaine Clifford
Tameka Empson Antonia Robinson
Leon Skinner Davis
Debra Gillett Lorraine
Barry McCarthy Dave
Adrian Scarborough Martin
Jill Baker Sheba's Mother
Diana Berriman Marcia
Alice Bird Saskia
Benedict Taylor Eddie
Miranda Pleasence Eddie's Wife
Jonathan Speer Vet
Stephen Kennedy Mr. Connolly
Derbhle Crotty Mrs. Connolly
Catherine Drew Newsreader
Anne-Marie Duff Annabel
Michael Riesman Conductor

Technical Credits
Richard Eyre Director
Shaheen Baig Casting
Keziah Barton-White Camera Operator
John Bloom Editor
Paul Bond Camera Operator
Robert Fox Producer
Philip Glass Score Composer
Jim Greenhorn Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Haddenham Special Effects
Martin Harrison Asst. Director
Tim Hatley Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Robert B. Hunt Stunts
Robert Hunt Stunts
Buxton Jayne Makeup
Helen Johnson Makeup
Rebecca Lafford Makeup
Hothouse Music Limited Musical Direction/Supervision
Maggie Lunn Casting
Patrick Marber Screenwriter
Tina Maskell Stunts
Chris Menges Cinematographer
Craig Menges Cinematographer
Redmond Morris Executive Producer
Raymond Morris Executive Producer
Hannah Moseley Art Director
Peter Pedrero Stunts
Scott Rudin Producer
Stuart Stanley Sound Editor
John Street Stunts
Antonia Van Drimmelen Editor
Peter Watson Set Decoration/Design
Kirsty Wilkinson Set Decoration/Design
Ben Wilkinson Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Notes on a Scandal
1. Main Titles/Progress [:28]
2. The Novice [:11]
3. Sunday Lunch [2:44]
4. Gold Star Day [:59]
5. Terrible Discovery [4:41]
6. Sheba's Gem [1:53]
7. Seductive Secret [5:04]
8. A Private Matter [:57]
9. Christmas [2:38]
10. Attachments [:18]
11. Betrayal [2:43]
12. The End of the Affair [3:01]
13. New Phase [:17]
14. Priorities [1:12]
15. Vengeance [5:07]
16. Restraining Order [1:14]
17. Broken Family [4:13]
18. Notes on a Scandal [2:04]
19. Mending Fences [3:42]
20. Moving On/End Titles [:33]

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Notes on a Scandal 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
DarkLotusICP4life More than 1 year ago
amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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