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Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Cate Blanchett , Judi Dench , Richard Eyre  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Andrew Simpson, Tom Georgeson, Michael Maloney
  • Directors: Richard Eyre
  • Writers: Patrick Marber, Zoe Heller
  • Producers: Redmond Morris, Robert Fox, Scott Rudin
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,143 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Notes on a Scandal" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Widescreen Feature
  • Commentary by director Richard Eyre
  • Notes on A Scandal: The Story of Two Obsessions
  • Notes on A Scandal: Behind The Scenes
  • In Character with Cate Blanchett
  • Webisodes:
  • Judi and Cate: Behind The Scandal
  • The Screenplay
  • Judi Dench
  • Cate Blanchett
  • A Conversation with Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Gold stars to all for this taut psychological thriller based on Zoe Heller's novel that that gets more insidiously twisted as it unfolds. Oscar-nominated for her chilling performance, Dame Judi Dench gives a master class as schoolteacher Barbara Covett, a frumpy, friendless, and flinty spinster who lives with her cat. A formidable presence, Barbara is standoffish with colleagues and not one for students to trifle with (not that they'd dare). Cate Blanchett, also an Oscar nominee and winner of several critics society awards for her impassioned performance, costars as Sheba Hart, the new, overwhelmed art teacher who first becomes enthrall to Barbara after she steps in to help Sheba discipline unruly students. Barbara cultivates a friendship, and insinuates herself into Sheba's chaotic life, which includes her older husband (Bill Nighy), teenage daughter, and a son with Down's syndrome. Then, Barbara catches the reckless Sheba in a compromising position with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson). Seizing her opportunity, the calculating Barbara does not turn her in. Rather, she wants to "help" her. "She's the one I've been waiting for," she writes in the journals she meticulously keeps, and which provide, in voiceover, her corrosive commentary. This all sounds very Fatal Attraction, but no boiling rabbits, please; we're British. Philip Glass's Oscar-nominated score accentuates the growing menace. Though there is little in these characters to admire, (one would think GLAAD would have something to say about the predatory turn Barbara's character takes), Notes on a Scandal is a compelling tour-de-force for its Grade-A cast. --Donald Liebenson

Notes on a Scandal Extras

Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench on their characters in the film

Beyond Notes on a Scandal

Book to Movie Adaptations

More Cate Blanchett Films

What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal: A Novel

Stills from Notes on a Scandal

Product Description

Academy Award(r) winners Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give wickedly entertaining, Oscar-nominated performances * ? one as a woman consumed by her colleague's guilty secret, the other, a victim to her own dark obsessions ? in this sexy, stylish thriller. Dench mesmerizes as Barbara Covett, a teacher who rules over her classroom with an iron fist, yet leads a desperate, solitary life outside it. That is, until she meets radiant new art teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett). Although at first overjoyed with her newfound kindred spirit, when Barbara discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a teenage student, her jealously and rage spiral out of control.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Why shouldn't you be bad?" April 20, 2007
Notes on a Scandal is a gripping, captivating story of two lonely women and the ragged way they fall in and out of love. Sheba, a young art teacher, who falls into a torrid affair with a 15-year-old student, ostensibly because of the disappointment and difficulties in her family life. Then Barbara, an older history teacher, who takes Sheba under her wing--or so she thinks--and is the first to know her secret. The way this story unravels is enthralling and hard to watch, but at the same time I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen. I found myself sympathizing with Sheba, though I knew her actions were wrong, because I could understand the ache of loneliness one must feel when you begin to wonder if you've made the wrong choices in your life. Similarly, though the seemingly benevolent Barbara eventually turns out to have a cruel streak, I found myself empathizing for her lack of companionship and the fact that she seemed so completely alone. Notes on a Scandal is a story about loneliness, the banality of cruelty, and the harsh reality of living and accepting the choices you've made. It's an excellent film and kept me entertained from start to finish.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling April 20, 2007
This grim drama of sexual manipulation is a story where almost everyone is a victim. Judi Dench (Barbara) plays the chilling role of the lonely spinster teacher who befriends young women with the goal of possessing them. Cate Blanchett (Sheba) is a dreamy, artistic young mother, who, after years of caring for a Down's Syndrome son, goes back to work as an art teacher at a rough London school. Barbara trains her sights on Sheba as she struggles with the chaos in the school and helps her out, but then discovers a secret to hold over her.

Judi Dench manages to portray a woman who is despicable and pitiable at the same time, while Blanchett draws on our sympathy despite unforgivable transgressions. The themes are very disturbing, and there's no happy ending--Barbara moves on while the other characters pick up the pieces. Blanchett's young art student may be the only one to emerge unscathed--but I won't say more. This film is most definitely for adults only, and some will be offended by the subject matter. But Dench gives a magnificent performance, as always.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Top of Their Game April 20, 2007
For all it is an entry into the "girlfriend/ temp/ babysitter/ boyfriend/ roommate/ etc. from hell" films of the late 80s and early 90s (such as FATAL ATTRACTION, THE TEMP, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, FEAR), NOTES ON A SCANDAL is still a terrific and excitingly paced melodrama showing two splendid actresses--Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett--at their absolute best. Dench is a fire-breathing older woman teaching history in a London public school who has a hidden history of stalking and erotomania; Blanchett is the new art teacher, unable to handle a classroom, escaping from her incredible family demands (incluiding a son with Down's syndrome) who befriends Dench and starts having an affair with a manipulative 15 year-old student. When Dench develops an obsession with Blanchett, and discovers the affair, the sparks really fly, and the movie builds at an even more breathtaking pace. There's not much point to the film (other than that all single people in the film seem determine to wreck Blanchett's marriage), but who cares when you can see two actresses as fine as Dench and Blanchett work so splendidly. Dench has a role here perfectly within her range as the rebarbarative and covetous Barbara Covett; Blanchett (as always) seems like you've never seen her before, this time as Bathsheba Hart, Covett's beautiful prey. The overdramatic score by Philip Glass is less obstrusive than it might have been given the tremendous scale of these two actresses' performances.
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73 of 89 people found the following review helpful
One of the more critically lauded pictures of 2006, I was primarily interested in "Notes on a Scandal" for its Oscar nominated screenplay by Patrick Marber. Previously having brought "Closer" to the screen, I was eager to see his follow up. I know "Closer" had its detractors--but for me the writing was scathingly funny and refreshingly adult. And the concept behind "Notes" also sounded intriguingly grown-up. Let's be honest--who wouldn't want to see Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench square off? Emotionally and physically, this could be a battle of two of our most respected actresses. And while I did admire much of the film, the thing that ultimately disappointed me was the screenplay--and the aspects of character motivation that it doesn't bother to address.

"Scandal" introduces us to Blanchett, a new art teacher at the local high school. Awkward to her new position, she is something of a joke to a more experienced faculty member (played by Dench). Dench is a stern disciplinarian, and one day assists Blanchett with a confrontation. Captivated by the naivete of the new teacher, Dench takes her under her wing. Forming a personal friendship, Dench even visits Blanchett's home and spends time with her family. Clearly yearning for an even closer friendship, Dench is startled to discover Blanchett is carrying on a sexual liaison with one of her students. Instead of turning her in, though, she uses the knowledge to gain psychological control over Blanchett. What follows is a battle of wills as the truth begins to emerge--both about the scandal and about Dench's ulterior motives.

I certainly think that "Notes On a Scandal" is a good movie bolstered by strong performances. I don't think, however, that it's quite as perfect as some people would make out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Notes on a Scandal
This is a fabulous movie. Cate Blanchett never disappoints and it's the talented Woody Allen at the top of his game!
Published 2 days ago by Alessandra Capella
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Judy and Kate
This is one of my favorite all time movies.

When did you ever see a movie about a gay woman?

Love the twists and turns in the story. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Pinkyrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Dame Judy Dench at her finest performance yet!
It was a twist and turn movie !Judy was brilliant, Cate was spectacular! It was a bit of Misery, Single white female & fatal attraction all balled up into one!. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Michele Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Two power actresses in an unusual power struggle!
Think of this: Best actresses nominees Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett paired as the protagonist and antagonist in the same movie. Read more
Published 22 days ago by itcan
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Movie Because ...
- it has a juicy plot that keeps you watching til the end. Cate Blanchett plays a married teacher who has an affair with a 15 year old male student. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Ann Sherry
5.0 out of 5 stars Rule Brittania!
This movie shows what happens when you have three actors bringing their A-game to a fantastic and compelling story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven Traube
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE.
This is a movie that is well acted and can be very intense at times. I have two orders on Amazon for it as the first copy did not play but the seller was GREAT and sent me the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Irish
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific actors in a less than terrific film
Sure, Ms. Dench and Blanchett are awesome actors, so is Bill Nighy--but this is an unbelievable and ridiculous story with shallow characters whose bizarre behavior is unexplained... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Lans
5.0 out of 5 stars Notes on a Scandal Amazing
This haunting mystery was well written and brilliantly acted. I have watched it many times. I just adore Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchet. Billy Nighy was amazing.
Published 1 month ago by J. Usera
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
I have seen this movie 3 times and love it- Dench and Blachett are outstanding . If you want a twist and turn thriller this is one to watch
Published 2 months ago by HughMann
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