Movie Review by Anu Mukherjee
Starring: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Phil Davis
Director: Richard Eyre
Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett star in a brilliant adaptation of Zoe Heller’s best-selling novel Notes on a Scandal.
Barbara (Judi Dench) is a lonely bitter old school teacher who has spent her life alone with only the company of her cat Portia and her diaries to sustain her. Hugely unpopular amongst her colleagues, the arrival of Sheba (Cate Blanchett) to the school sets in motion a chain of events which will change both their lives.
Sheba is a beautiful, fresh character but adrift in her marriage to much older husband Richard. The stress of caring for her disabled son for 10 years with little freedom to do what she loves, begins to take its toll, and so begins her affair with Steven.
Her affair with Steven, one of her pupils, is deliciously wrong, but Sheba is powerless to stop it. Barbara uses this knowledge to control Sheba’s life and manipulate her way into becoming the ‘best friend’ and confidante she has always wanted to be.
Dench and Blanchett’s Oscar nominations are most definitely warranted as both give phenomenal performances.
Judi Dench triumphs in her role as a manipulative obsessive whose focus of attention is the young, beautiful Bohemian art teacher Sheba. This is a story of control, loneliness and pure misguided obsession. It will leave you emotionally charged and somewhat exhausted – but in the best possible sense only a powerful movie can.