The requested resource (/media/wgvu/header/pb/header.html) is not available
Last updated 4:26PM ET
February 25, 2021
Search NewsRoom
Search NewsRoom
go
Advanced Search
Tools
Tools
Movie Reviews
Movie Reviews
Notes on a Scandal
(2007-03-19)
(wgvu) - Notes on a Scandal is a perfect, compact movie at 92 minutes, with masterful performances by Judi Dench and Kate Blanchett. Directed by Richard Eyre, and written by Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal has the most overwhelming sinister tone throughout, mostly because of Dench's narration which is enhanced by a creepy symphonic score by Philip Glass. The story is about two British school teachers. One is a elderly veteran, Barbara Covett, played by Dench. The other is a first-time art teacher, Sheba Hart, played by Blanchett. Sheba is a willowy beauty who entrances the other teachers, and the students. But old Covett has nothing but scorn for her, because, well, she has scorn for everybody. The two become acquaintances, and Sheba invites Barbara into her life, inviting her to meet her older husband, played by Bill Nighy, her son Ben, who has down syndrome, and her teenage daughter. Barbara creates a deeper, fantasy friendship in her mind, actually anticipating a life-long companionship. And then she discovers that Sheba is having a sexual affair with one of her 15 year old students. She instantly sees this as an opportunity. (clip1) Barbara is suddenly a constant presence in the Hart household. She moves to become closer to Sheba. When her cat dies, Barbara shows up just as the Harts are speeding off to their son's school play. (clip) The sinister depths that run through Barbara become ever so apparent to Sheba, and things begin to spiral out of control for both women.

Notes on a Scandal is positively riveting, and unique in its portrayals. We're used to hearing about these seedy sexual instances of teachers preying upon students. These filmmakers have taken an interesting take, with the emphasis away from the moralizing tone we might expect. Yes, what Sheba does is wrong and illegal, and we are shown this. But the focus is on the relationship of the two women, and how that is equally as heinous. Barbara is the ultimate untrustworthy narrator, both for the audience and in her own mind. The words that spring forth are fascinating, and the melodrama of this tight little gem makes for a perfect character study.
© Copyright 2021, wgvu