Sunday, January 28, 2007

film - Notes On A Scandal


When I was in grades 5 & 6, we had a hottie substitute teacher who looked a lot like what Cate Blanchett looks like in this film. I flirted with her but nothing came of it, of course.

Dame Judi Densch plays Barbara, an old, stern teacher, who is single and lonely. Cate Blanchett is Sheba, the new hottie art teacher, married with two kids. The two bond as the older one looks out for the new one. One of the students, a 15 year-old, develops a crush on the art teacher and when their affair is chanced upon by Barbara, she agrees to keep it secret from the school headmaster so long as Sheba ends the relationship...with the hope and expectation that Sheba will increase the closeness but also intimacy, of their growing friendship.

Barbara is creepy with increasingly unhealthy obsession for Sheba, perhaps based on lesbian feelings and is exacerbated by her loneliness, having only an old cat as her companion. Judi Densch is excellent in this role. Cate Blanchett is also strong. Her character is a bit bored with her marriage and when the student takes a fancy to her, it sets off a fire within that has been dormant for a while. Bill Nighy played the role of Sheba's husband, a former teacher of his, twenty years her senior (and in real life, too) and showed that he is also superb at playing drama, in addition to his recent comedic roles.

Notes On A Scandal doesn't have the over-the-top feel of say, Single White Female, another film in which one woman becomes obsessed with another, and that is a plus. You can tell it wasn't a slick, overly calculated Hollywood film. This isn't a feel-good film by any means, but it provides insight into human vulnerability and the unbalanced minds of those who would prey upon it.

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