Notes on a Scandal (2006)


How Notes on a Scandal isn’t a gay culture phenomenon, I do not understand.  Legends Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give two of their best performances in the eeriest, plausible stalker drama where the leads are both manipulative and deluded and you can’t help to drip on the drama.  The staunch moral center of her school (or at least she sees it that way), Dench monologues through Barbara Covett’s closed off demeanor establishes certain guidelines in a rambunctious urban high school until Cate Blanchett’s bohemian art teacher Bathsheba Hart rolls onto campus and stirs up controversy.  Dench’s biting wit drips with disdain and resentment, but her occasional doting but often menacing lesbian without hope sans entrapment takes only little phrases that elicit Patrick Bateman level shivers. Blanchett, whispy and vulnerable ranging to downright mad, takes equally unsettling lengths in her baffling behavior.  When she loses it late in the movie, watch out for the hair and makeup diva acting diving into paparazzi hell. Dench lost her Oscar bid to Helen Mirren for The Queen, the weakest of an overall outstanding set of nominees. Blanchett likewise lost hers in a category fraud Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls in supporting where true supporting players from Little Miss Sunshine and Babel got steamrolled by big names in secondary parts.  This is my favorite Judi Dench, so dig into this drama-filled moral nightmare next time you need an uncomfortable but thrilling battle of indecency. Obsession has rarely been better!


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