Notes on a Scandal
This is definitely not Hogwarts.


Golden Mug

NOMINEE: Actress (Judi Dench), Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett)

Theatrical Release Date: 12/25/2006
Director: Richard Eyre
Cast: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy

I told Ian I had this on Netflix, and he asked me to review it. That was about a month ago, and my review is dragging because it’s such a weird movie to absorb.

If you didn’t know, it’s a psychological drama starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. The premise is that Dench is an old teacher at a private school. The entire movie is told from her perspective as a narrator and the main character.

Spending all those years at the school with no apparent life outside of the classroom, her experiences have given her a level of intelligence matched only by cynicism.

The narration is quickly realized to be the notes that Dench is keeping in her journal. Soon thereafter, you see through the eyes of the main character observations concerning the arrival of a young, attractive teacher portrayed by Blanchett.

The story twists and turns interestingly into a psychological mystery of sorts as you see these two characters become friends with deeper levels of intimacy.

It’s after this that you begin to unravel some of the few large plot twists in the film all driven by a complex character masterfully driven by Dench and director Richard Eyre.

It is a very, very intense drama involving hidden agendas, fears, loneliness, and being taken advantage of.

I realize that this is a very vague review, but there are a few twists in the plot that are not only the main topics in the film, but they also provide the main sources of the drama. Discussing them here is the type of spoiler that I don’t like to participate in if I can help it.

Let’s put it this way. There are some harsh realities in here that can drain you if you get emotionally invested in films. If you have an interest in seeing this movie and haven’t, then do so. If you didn’t think you’d be interested in this, give it the benefit of a second thought.

Try not to have many illusions given the level of critical acclaim. It is a top-notch psychological drama, but it isn’t one that’s happy or anything but a f-ed up downer depending on your perspective.

It’s hard to debate that it’s not sad for many reasons. For those same reasons, it’s hard not to realize what a great story it was and what a great job the actors have done in tackling a number of really rough topics.

Most people that would not like the film would do so because the topics it tackles may be uncomfortable to face as realities in society.

I highly recommend it and give it 4 of 5 stars; even though as much I liked it, I don’t think I’ll ever need to see it again. But I’m glad that I saw it once.