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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
Cate Blanchett is marvelous as the young woman with desires and love of family and dark secrets.
By the time you learn of the affair Sheba is having with her student, you almost have entire sympathy for her as a character.
That people like Barbara exist is undeniable and that they get away with their actions goes without saying.
Judi Dench as always is genius but we've discovered Cate Blanchett''s weakness-she cannot play pretty, naive characters. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
Even if you're not into this type of genre, must see! The brilliant melodramma, thriving on forbidden relationship, on the one hand, and desperate loneliness, on the other. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Allis K.
I recently read a great book, written by a psychologist who specializes in the phenomenon of sociopathology. She estimates that about 4% of the population are sociopaths. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mac
I love the movie, although there were 2 skips during the watching of the dvdPublished 1 month ago by Bianca's MOM
I rarely buy DVD copies of movies and only do when I really, really like the movie and can call it my favorite. Notes on a Scandal is one of my most favorite movies of all time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Katherine Breckenridge