Notes on a Scandal (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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.

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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. 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.
Rating:
R (for language and some aberrant sexual content)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

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
Juno Temple
as Polly
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
Julia McKenzie
as Marjorie
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
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Critic Reviews for Notes on a Scandal

All Critics (171) | 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

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | April 20, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

April 10, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
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 8, 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 2, 2007
Time Out
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 24, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Notes on a Scandal

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
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
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

½

"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.

REVIEW
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.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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