Notes on a Scandal: 2 Stars (out of 5)
Adultery, obsession, and a bunch of people without self-control or conscience. Doesn’t that sound like fun yuletide cheer? In a British high school, the new teacher (Cate Blanchett) is lusted over by everyone – think There’s Something About Mary if it had been a tragedy instead of a comedy. An elderly and lonely English teacher (Judi Dench) develops a strong crush on the beautiful married woman who she then learns is having an affair with a student (Andrew Simpson). She decides to use this information to her advantage and pursue a more intimate relationship with her new “friend.”
Every character in the film has an agenda, an insanity, and a cruel streak. Simply put – everyone in this film is FUBAR. The performances of the two leading ladies are well worth noting, and give the actresses juicy roles to sink their teeth in. Dench may well earn another Academy Award nomination.
Sadly the film isn’t good enough to support these performances. These characters are deranged and obsessive, lonely and emotionally unstable. When a child molester and adulterer is the most compassionate character in a film, well that’s something of a problem. Fans of good acting may enjoy the film, but its little more than Oscar Bait to snag its leading ladies some pretty statues.