Notes on a Scandal (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Notes on a Scandal (2006)



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

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. Sheba appears to be the kindred spirit and loyal friend Barbara has always been seeking. But, when she discovers that Sheba is having an incendiary affair with one of her young students, their budding relationship takes an ominous turn. Now, as Barbara threatens to expose Sheba's terrible secret to both her husband and the world, Barbara's own secrets and dark obsessions come tumbling to the fore, exposing the deceptions at the core of each of the women's lives.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
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


Judi Dench
as Barbara Covett
Cate Blanchett
as Sheba Hart
Bill Nighy
as Richard Hart
Andrew Simpson
as Steven Connelly
Philip Davis
as Brian Bangs
Michael Maloney
as Sandy Pabblem
Tom Georgeson
as Ted Mawson
Joanna Scanlan
as Sue Hodge
Shaun Parkes
as Bill Rumer
Wendy Nottingham
as Elaine Clifford
Tameka Empson
as Antonia Robinson
Max Lewis
as Ben Hart
Antonia Robinson
as Tameka Empson
Debra Gillett
as Lorraine
Jill Baker
as Sheba's Mother
Alice Bird
as Saskia
Miranda Pleasence
as Eddie's Wife
Stephen Kennedy
as Mr. Connolly
Derbhle Crotty
as Mrs. Connolly
Catherine Drew
as Newsreader
Phil Davis
as Brian Bangs
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Notes on a Scandal

Critic Reviews for Notes on a Scandal

All Critics (172) | Top Critics (44)

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
Top Critic

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

The strength of the writing, and therefore the directing, is that it sees the scandal as a minor point in a human experience that is naturally corrupt, and cares more about how those on the inside choose to deal with their realities.

Full Review… | September 16, 2015

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

British cinema fans shouldn't miss this one.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

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.

Bob Stinson

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.

Alex roy

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.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

Notes on a Scandal Quotes

Barbara Covett: Children are feral. They sense your anxiety.
– Submitted by Frances H (24 months ago)
Barbara Covett: No one can violate our magnificent complicity.
– Submitted by Raj G (4 years ago)
Barbara Covett: Well, I am glad I was such an aphrodisiac.
– Submitted by Raj G (4 years ago)
Sheba Hart: You think this is a love affair? A relationship?
– Submitted by Raj G (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Notes on a Scandal on our Movie forum!