login | register |

Notes on a Scandal

One Woman's Mistake Is Another's Opportunity... 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Notes on a Scandal

Director: Richard Eyre

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench

Adapted from Zoë Heller's best-selling novel, Notes On A Scandal grabs your attention with a gentle touch and refuses to let go. Judi Dench is truly spellbinding as the dumpy schoolteacher hiding an iron fist in a velvet glove to wheedle her way into the confidence of a younger colleague with a terrible secret (Cate Blanchett). Around these formidable women, director Richard Eyre and writer Patrick Marber craft a psychological thriller of rare delicacy.

Essentially, this is a story of loneliness. Barbara (Dench) only has her pet cat to fuss over and Sheba (sensitively played by Blanchett) feels lost in a marriage to an older man (the charismatic Bill Nighy). Both inspire sympathy, even in their most wicked moments, yet Marber cleverly accentuates facets of Heller's book to emphasise Barbara's predatory nature. When she discovers Sheba's affair with a pupil (Andrew Simpson), it provides her with the hook to reel in this exotic creature and cage her in so-called friendship.

Imposing spaces, muted colours and a spine-tingling score heighten the journey into the dark recesses of Barbara's mind. With every manipulation, it becomes creepier and more compelling. Barbara pours scorn on those she deems beneath her, ie virtually everyone, but especially the liberal-minded headmaster (Philip Davis) who frowns on her 'war-is-hell' classroom philosophy... Barbara holds you captive till the curtain falls.

Dench is ably supported by Blanchett as Sheba, ethereally beautiful and deeply confused. Marber’s script is wonderful and the supporting cast which includes, as well as Bill Nighy, Michael Maloney, Joanna Scanlan and Julia McKenzie. Another excellent British production, and simply one of the best films I’ve seen in ages. Come and see Notes On a Scandal, otherwise you really are missing out.

Victoria Galloway

More Information | Back to Previous Schedule | This Season  |  BBFC Classification Guidelines

Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Summer Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Summer Term (35mm)