Yesterday I saw the thriller Notes on a Scandal, starring Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett.
I was left with mixed emotions.
The story centers around Sheba (Blanchett), who has spent ten years caring for her family—specifically her son with Down's Syndrome—and finds herself ready to branch out and start a career. As a result, she becomes a somewhat scattered art teacher at a high school. A veteran instructor, Barbara (Dench), who lacks companions of her own, quickly befriends Sheba and keeps a detailed diary of their friendship.
As the story progresses, Sheba gets caught having an affair with one of her students by Barbara, who then blackmails Sheba for attention in return for her secrecy.
Dench is apparently a lesbian who is attracted to the younger teacher with a questionable past that only unfolds near the end of the film.
The pace of the movie is great—everything happens quickly and believably, as it would in real-life. The performances are flawless (even the supporting cast is great) and the ending is fine.
The main problems I had with it were the dialogue (wait until you see Sheba scream "Here I am!" in one of the key scenes near the end) and the intrusive score, which often drowned out the cheesy dialogue. Oh wait—maybe the score was good after all.
Anyway—I'd be lying if I didn't say I was entertained during this one. It's a fun, if not predictable ride.
And with Mirren and Winslet all but confirmed for Oscar nods, Dench just may make the Best Actress race a three-way Battle of the Brits with her performance here.