February 8th, 2007

gondolas

Notes on A Scandal

Last night I went to see Notes On  A Scandal . Brilliant film. Cate Blanchett plays  Sheba, a new art teacher at an inner London school. She is pretty ineffectual and her lessons are soon trashed by the pupils. She is rescued by Barbara, played by Judi Dench, the history teacher who is very much "old school". They become firm friends and Barbara visits Sheba's trendy North London home where she discovers that Sheba is married to  Richard (Bill Nighy), twenty years Sheba's senior and has a stroppy teen daughter and a twelve year old  son with Downs Syndrome.

Sheba embarks on an illicit affair with a fifteen year old pupil and Barbara discovers them and becomes Sheba's confidante. Things then take a sinister turn.

Judi Dench is pretty much a National Treasure and is well known for her regal and sympathetic roles but this time she is a revelation, scheming and creepy and conveying more with an upturned eyebrow that with a dozen lines. The cast is stunning especially Bill Nighy who gets away from his usual humorous quirky guys with a portrayal of a man who is overtaken with events he really can't deal with.

The rest of the cast includes such British stalwarts as Michael Maloney and Phil Davis.

Highly recommended 4*