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Notes on a Scandal (2006)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 170
Fresh: 148
Rotten: 22

Critics Consensus: In this sharp psychological thriller, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give fierce, memorable performances as two schoolteachers locked in a battle of wits.

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 37
Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: In this sharp psychological thriller, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give fierce, memorable performances as two schoolteachers locked in a battle of wits.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 77,091

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Movie Info

Two women, caught up in a drama of need and betrayal, are at the heart of the psychological thriller "Notes on a Scandal." The twists and turns of the story are noted in the acerbic diary of Barbara Covett, a domineering and solitary teacher who rules with an iron fist over her classroom at a decaying state-run secondary school in London. Save for her cat, Portia, Barbara lives alone, without friends or confidantes--but her world changes when she meets the school's new art teacher, Sheba Hart. … More

Rating:
R (for language and some aberrant sexual content)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Patrick Marber
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Apr 17, 2007
Box Office:
$17.4M
Runtime:
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


Cast



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Critic Reviews for Notes on a Scandal

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (148) | Rotten (22) | DVD (24)

Blanchett has also recently appeared in The Good German and Babel, but this represents far and away her best work.

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Richard Eyre's direction merely plays up the melodramatic aspects of Zoë Heller's novel, screenwriter Patrick Marber's acidic dialogue occasionally slips into the overwritten, and the rest of the cast gamely chews table scraps.

Full Review… | February 3, 2007
Time Out New York
Top Critic

Bill Nighy is stunning in the small but pivotal role of Sheba's devastated husband, and Dench locates the desperate pathos in Barbara's malevolence.

Full Review… | January 25, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

This compact, fierce and frightening domestic thriller is the most violent film in many a day. The rage is in the angry words, the deepest thoughts of its 'heroine,' and the fear about what might come from those words is palpable.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

While Glenn Close played her Fatal Attraction character's 'I will not be ignored' psycho-obsession out front and out loud, Dench does it as subtext, making it all the more insidious, frightening ... and fascinating.

Full Review… | January 11, 2007
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

In England, it seems, actresses have nothing to fear from age. They can simply wait for writers to create fresh work for them.

January 8, 2007
New Yorker
Top Critic

Lurid melodrama lifted by corrosive writing and a frightening performance from the Dame.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Stages the story with a tastefulness both ponderous and dishonest

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
CinePassion

Smart and brash, it's a picture Bette Davis and Joan Crawford would have killed (preferably each other) to be in.

Full Review… | May 15, 2009
I.E. Weekly

British cinema fans shouldn't miss this one.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

Eyre paces it with an eye for the telling detail, and Blanchett and Dench give harrowing, fearless performances.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

Notes on a Scandal is melodrama at its best -- a nasty, wickedly good, over-the-top story with school teachers standing in where vampires usually prowl.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008
BrandonFibbs.com

born from watching too many episodes of Jerry Springer, and the filmmakers decided it would be more accepted by the Academy if the characters had British accents.

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
7M Pictures

The characters' motives are base enough, and there's an odd combination of petty incidents having walloping consequences, but the ironies are as delicately layered and "delicious" as they could possibly be without a hint of preciosity.

Full Review… | April 17, 2007
Blogcritics.org

Dench's performance is the greatest pleasure in a hugely enjoyable, highly literate drama.

Full Review… | March 28, 2007
thelondonpaper

...a thoroughly trashy piece of work...

Full Review… | March 12, 2007
Reel Film Reviews

Em seus melhores momentos, é um drama relativamente eficaz. (...) Nos piores, parece uma versão de O Pentelho protagonizada por mulheres e com Judi Dench no lugar de Jim Carrey.

Full Review… | March 8, 2007
Cinema em Cena

Un brillante duelo actoral entre Judi Dench y Cate Blanchett %u2013dos de las mejores actrices de la actualidad- que es también un sutil estudio sobre la soledad y la obsesión.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Uruguay Total

As much as Barbara judges, however, you may find yourself in a quandary, not judging so much as taking pleasure in her vile, brilliant perfection.

Full Review… | February 24, 2007
PopMatters

The movie's driving force is Dench, whose extraordinary performance only underscores her post as one of the world's finest living actresses.

Full Review… | February 23, 2007
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

A measured and yet gloriously overblown study of desire, entitlement and the twists we experience while shuttling between the two.

Full Review… | February 21, 2007

Without a clear protagonist, "Notes On a Scandal" collapses under the weight of its significant subject matter. Nevertheless, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench rise above the ill- prepared source material with their passionate performances.

Full Review… | February 19, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

This is a strong drama that simmers its way to a boil by the end of the film. It falters only at the very end, in which the story falls back on a cliché.

Full Review… | February 19, 2007
rec.arts.movies.reviews

A borderline melodrama film that is fortunate to feature two superb enough performances to grant it high entertainment status.

Full Review… | February 19, 2007
Movies for the Masses

There are brilliantly handled scenes of anger, embarrassment and humiliation, and brutal physical and emotional confrontations of great power.

Full Review… | February 10, 2007
Observer [UK]

Engrossing, bewildering, searing and shattering, this is a film that reverberates on every level.

Full Review… | February 10, 2007
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Notes on a Scandal

I got very little out of this movie. Tired, obvious subject, played for melodrama, poorly. Philip Glass score was just too up-front.

More
brooklynspo
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

The plot right there is most of what makes this film roll so well. NOTES ON A SCANDAL is quite easily comparable to Alfred Hitchcockâ(TM)s REAR WINDOW when analyzing the tactics used to produce such a film. The first half an hour is used to set up the characters; at the thirty-minutes mark, the plot starts with a bang and a sense of voyeurism, before taking its own unique route. Rather than expounding upon a murder mystery, writer Patrick Marber analyzes a shocking scandal, and it seems just as, if not more suspenseful than such a classic as REAR WINDOW did in 1954. The way the director makes us view the scandalous act is stunning. It would be a very easy accident to make if the film turned out as a voluptuous picture. Instead, such scenes are carefully worked outâ"music, cinematography, and allâ"so that we are rather shocked by the events that take place during the course of the film.

More
spielberg00
Alexander Diminiano

Super Reviewer

Notes on a Scandal is a near flawless film with stellar acting that will keep the viewer on the edge of his seat. The film has a phenomenal cast that makes this film an incredible cinematic experience. Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench are incredible in their respective roles. Notes on a Scandal is superior drama film that might divide the viewers due to its subject matter. A new art teacher at a school is suspected to having a sexual affair with a fellow student by an elderly teacher, Barbara (Judi Dench) that there's an affair going on between the new teacher, Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett). I thought that Notes on a Scandal was a terrific film, and the acting displayed on screen by Dench and Blanchett is what makes this film a unique viewing experience. Both actresses are accomplished and have incredible talent, and seeing that talent comes through is really what makes this film worth watching. Notes on a Scandal is a well made film with phenomenal acting and despite its somewhat controversial subject is a great story as well.
The film works because of the great acting that the lead actresses display on screen, and though uneven at times, Notes on a Scandal is still a solid enough thriller to enjoy with plenty of tricks up its sleeves.

More
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Wonderful performances all around, with an outstanding and eerie performance from Judy Dench.

This film is cleverly put together to contain a very controversial subject and yet the attention is drawn far more to the sub-topic of the relationship between Dench and Blanchett's characters.

Left me with a feeling of wanting to shake off the eerie, creepy feel.

More
76Majikat
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

Notes on a Scandal Quotes


Barbara Covett:
Children are feral. They sense your anxiety.
– Submitted by Frances H (4 months ago)
Barbara Covett:
No one can violate our magnificent complicity.
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)
Barbara Covett:
Well, I am glad I was such an aphrodisiac.
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)
Sheba Hart:
You think this is a love affair? A relationship?
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)

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