“Notes on a Scandal” (2006) – “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.” – Sun Tzu
Barbara (Judi Dench) is history teacher at a London high school, and she’s been in the classroom for decades and nearing retirement. It couldn’t come quick enough, as her patience is as thin as Timothee Chalamet on a hunger strike. Never married and a social loner, Barbara is unhappy, but her mood turns when Sheba (Cate Blanchett) – a beautiful, tall, and cultured 30-something – arrives on campus to teach art.
Since Sheba is new, Barbara jumps at the opportunity to mentor her and, more importantly, hopefully become friends.
Well, Barbara – for reasons that will not be discussed, changes her amiable tune faster than a karaoke machine spinning 120-second Ramones hits, as these two masterclass actresses dive deeply into this vexing well of psychological drama. Meanwhile, director Richard Eyre and screenwriter Patrick Marber slowly reveal that there is more to Barbara and Sheba – and their motivations – than at first glance.
Bill Nighy is a perfect supporting player by starring as Sheba’s husband, and Dench and Blanchett rightfully earned Oscar nominations for their work here, as “Notes on a Scandal” secured four Academy Award noms in all.
Look, kindly reach for your notepad and write this down please: “See this movie!”
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Directed by: Richard Eyre
Written by: Patrick Marber, based on the Zoe Heller’s 2003 novel
Starring: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy
Runtime: 92 minutes
Image Credits: Searchlight Pictures