• R, 1 hr. 31 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Richard Eyre
    In Theaters:
    Dec 25, 2006 Wide
    On DVD:
    Apr 17, 2007
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures


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Notes on a Scandal Reviews

Page 1 of 345
Bob S

Super Reviewer

April 2, 2007
I got very little out of this movie. Tired, obvious subject, played for melodrama, poorly. Philip Glass score was just too up-front.
Alexander D

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2012
The plot right there is most of what makes this film roll so well. NOTES ON A SCANDAL is quite easily comparable to Alfred Hitchcock‚(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 out‚"music, cinematography, and all‚"so that we are rather shocked by the events that take place during the course of the film.

Super Reviewer

August 21, 2011
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.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2007
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.

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2010
"People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you."

A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.

Dench is excellent as a lonely, delusional old teacher who tries to emotionally blackmail a colleague who's having an affair with a student. Blanchett is equally good as the teacher who has the scandalous affair at the risk of losing her family. The film has the benefit of a good script, a fine score by Glass, and the steady direction of Eyre, a veteran of British TV. Dench's true character is revealed slowly, allowing the tension to build, including a compelling scene where she forces Blanchett to make a decision that could have dire consequences. In a role that could easily have become a caricature, Dench delivers a finely controlled performance.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

December 27, 2008
Wow, Notes on a Scandal is a supremely uncomfortable movie to watch. It's expertly crafted and the acting is flawless, but its subject matter is such that I didn't enjoy it enough to give it a higher rating.

On another note, I'm becoming more aware of the huge differences in acting ability between some of my favorite actresses and true talents like Cate Blanchett. She is living proof that stunning beauty and acting ability are not mutually exclusive. She was beyond impressive in Notes on a Scandal.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2009
A well told story of obsession, secrets and deception. Judi Dench steals the show when surrounded by a half hearted supporting cast but she did get all the good lines while everyone else had to do the best they could with one of the worst scripts ever. Jesus wept indeed! Still, all that and certain annoyances (The ridiculous amount of press attention for example) aside, it?s not a bad film. It?s like watching a really good ITV drama but I'm glad I didn't see it in the cinema.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

June 16, 2007
This decent drama tells the story of a controlling teacher, who forces a young colleague into a friendship of need and betrayal. The acting is outstanding, as the names Dench and Blanchett already imply. The film remains realistic enough, without falling into bitch-fights-with-knives Hollywood stereotypes, but the ending somehow falls a bit short anyway, feels a bit anticlimatic after building up the suspense and the downward spiral of events for quite a while. That's entertaining and worth seeing thanks to the leading ladies, but had potential to be more.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2009
For the most part Notes on a Scandal is a terrific underplayed thriller. Cape Fear or Misery without the horror and violence. On the other hand, it is an overplayed drama in some sequences. The actors sometimes boil into their own dish, separate and distracting from the film. The film is full of conflict and is conflicting itself. The voice over is both beautifully written and read, but is overused and the film becomes dependent on it. Perhaps such conflicting ideals are exactly what a film like this needs. Blanchett and Dench give two incredible performances. Dench treads a thin line between cantankerous crone and kindly sage. Blanchett manages to create a character both lacking in responsibility but also sympathetic. Nighy gives the role of the cheated on husband real class and fragility. His outburst is one of the many pure moments of raw emotion. A film that has you on the edge of your seat with that unnerving sense of catastrophe.

Super Reviewer

March 24, 2008
They had me at 'Dench & Blanchett'.

And this film lived up to every expectation that those names would lead you to expect. Both of these womne really "knock it out of the park".

Well shot, intensely written and brilliantly acted.
Emile T

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2007
I can't believe I haven't seen this before.
Superb acting by both leading actress Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, and a perfect screenplay.

This is a masterpiece in its genre.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

June 27, 2008
Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett are two schoolteachers locked in a battle of wits. Both actresses command your attention. You cannot look away, no matter how uncomfortable things get.
Alice S

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2008
Not terrible but could've been way crazier and sexier. It's like they reached a point just before climax and said, "I get off on withholding." Cate should've had more to say after running wildly into the media screaming, "HERE I AM! HERE I AM!" and Judi could've shown more potential of stalker madness earlier in film.

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2007
Cate is a married school teacher who has an affair with a pupil. Disturbing material throughout and very creepy at the end scene. Excellent cast.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2008
Bill! Cate! Fire your freakin' agents. I gave up on Judi Dench a long while ago. But you two? Gack! Calm down, Binky boy. Relax. That's okay, that's okay, I tell myself. We are all allowed a few less than sterling projects. That way we appreciate the good ones all the more. OMG. Some of my best flixster buddies seem to have liked, even loved this one. What's wrong with me? Why do I find that this storyline rings false? Plus it's tacky. Beneath Nighy and, especially, beneath Blanchett. Well, what do I know anyway? Whatever pays the bills.

Super Reviewer

December 16, 2007
Emotionally intense film. Judi Dench remarkably conveys every inch of her character's desperate loneliness exceedingly well. All Dench, Blanchett and Nighy deliver in this sharp, tragic comedy. Marvellous screenplay written by the same writer as 'Closer'. Notes on a Scandal is one of the most overlooked films of 2007, despite it being a well made and highly credible film.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2007
A really good movie, but so goddamned creepy! Not a bad performance (Blanchett straddled the line between sexy and neurotic perfectly, but as delicious as she was Judi Dench's obsessive bulldyke schoolmarm stole the show) to be found. Even the kid, as much of an annoying mongrel as he was did a great job. That... stroking scene was especially unsettling and that blowout scene between Blanchett and Dench was fantastic. Notes on a Scandal is one of those movies you know is good but you don't really feel that you need to see it more than twice in your entire life. It is good enough to recommend though.
Red L

Super Reviewer

November 24, 2007
Interesting movie. Can you feel sorry for a teacher (Cate Blanchett) who has an affair with a 15 year old? In this movie, you do as her friend's (Judi Dench) character is even more sinister.

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2007
as cate blanchet comments on her character as the clandestine adulteress with an underage adolescent boy: those who hide themselves so well would on-purpursedly create circumstance of exposure. that shall be the perfect reflection on the two obsessive females in the story of "notes on a scandal"....mostly critics or the audience would concentrate on judi dench's tour de farce performance as the pathologically schemeful and perilously manipulative aging closet lesbian, or the good performances from the general cast. as-a-matter-of-factly, the dialogues have more gems to chew with savored relish...sketchily, the story sets out as one fair-looking bohemian-spirited young teacher sheba(blanchet) arrives at school, it arouses the slavering eyes of two people: one bitter spinister teacher barbara(dench) and a hermone-raging lad...as barbara makes a further step to dig inside this young woman's life, she's shocked at the flopping platitude of sheba's reality: marriage to an aging bore who is old enough to her father, and one mentally crippled obese son and a crude brattish daughter, and sheba squanders her youth on labouring to maintain the surfacial peace of the family...then barbara extorts sheba's illict affair with a minor to obtain her friendship which might borders on pseudo romance of barbara's one-sided affections...eventually barbara backstabs sheba then ready to target at her next prey of secret crush.

even on the surface, blanchet's character might be a pedophile, but ironically the teenage boy is the exploitor who utilizes the teacher's frailty of emptiness as well as her neediness of affectionate courtship to enslave her sexually. he sends her foul messages about how much he wants to f**k her as long as the luscious crave strikes him....it has nothing to do with blanchet's character is a pedophile or not. it's more of a psychological guerrila of give-and-take, a food chain of prey and predator. be heedful of one scene when he lurks around her household at christmas when sheba's hesitated to quit this adultery, he sees her husband then says "is that your father?" then she replies "no, uncle."...then he gives a fake gold necklace as present (which means his love is also FAKE)....then the two kiss....it's plentifully obvious that she cheats with a young lad just as the subconscioulys compulsive revenge on her elder husband for soliciting her away in her prime youth and trapped in this abyss of obligations devoid of substantial attention. as sheba confides to barbara: "this is going to sound sick, but something in me felt... entitled. you know, I've been good all my adult life. I've been a decent wife, a dutiful mother coping with Ben. this voice inside me kept saying "why shouldn't you be bad, why shouldn't you transgress? I mean, you've earned the right."....

once in a while, the camera leads to the evidences of sheba's wanton adolescence anchored with wild past, such as her punk riot girl looks in the yellowed pic in her wasted art studio and also her juvenile edgy tastes of underground music that gives clues that inwardly she still lingers over her adolescence, and now a conformed female rebel and also an ingenune who seals off her youthful boisterousness. in a way, spiritually she's more like child than the frivilous 15-year-old steve who is childish but not childlike at all. the character of sheba is the central object of lust in the movie, as the ill-fate of most sex objects, she's inevitably the sympathetic exploited prey of a lecherous teenage boy as well as the frigid sexually repressed elder woman, and perhaps also her mild-mannered neglectful aging husband...so helplessly frail...as later, she puts that riot girl cosmetics on herself and stares into the mirror with a torn sense of self as confined in barbara's shell to escape the irresistible raid of press and society...then the flick heightens its conflict to the pinnacle of acerbity as sheba discovers barbara's sinister scheme in her diaries, but the tragedy has occured without any sparing mercifulness reserved for herself.

as for judi dench's barbara, one narration manifest her persona most effectively:
People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.

this flick's closure is like a horrorsome sociopath thriller, barbara focuses on her next possible candidate of this abnormal pattern under the disguise of compionship from a kindredly harmless elder female, just as a pagurian parasite, she seeks her upcoming host to shelter in with held-back subdued poise, and also like a leech, she makes a sudden violent attack then sucks the essence of her host to drained desolution. horrid! horrid! horrid!
Roy G

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2007
A sensationally stylish and tense drama. Great performances all round make this a movie to remember.
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