Notes on a Scandal
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Lust, jealousy, and revenge come cloaked in the guise of friendship in this psychological drama. Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) is a history teacher at a high school in London; while elderly Barbara is very bright, she's also severe and domineering, with a strong personality that tends to put people off. Barbara also takes a voyeuristic delight in recording the actions of those around her in her diary in the most minute detail. When Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), a bright and attractive woman in her mid-thirties, is hired as the school's new art teacher, Barbara believes she may have found… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Blanchett has also recently appeared in The Good German and Babel, but this represents far and away her best work."
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"This compact, fierce and frightening domestic thriller is the most violent film in many a day. The rage is in the angry words, the deepest thoughts of its 'heroine,' and the fear about what might come from those words is palpable."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Lurid melodrama lifted by corrosive writing and a frightening performance from the Dame."
‑ Luke Goodsell, Empire Magazine Australasia
"British cinema fans shouldn't miss this one."
‑ Peg Aloi, Boston Phoenix
"born from watching too many episodes of Jerry Springer, and the filmmakers decided it would be more accepted by the Academy if the characters had British accents."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"Richard Eyre's direction merely plays up the melodramatic aspects of ZoŽ Heller's novel, screenwriter Patrick Marber's acidic dialogue occasionally slips into the overwritten, and the rest of the cast gamely chews table scraps."
‑ Melissa Anderson, Time Out New York
"While Glenn Close played her Fatal Attraction character's 'I will not be ignored' psycho-obsession out front and out loud, Dench does it as subtext, making it all the more insidious, frightening ... and fascinating."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Stages the story with a tastefulness both ponderous and dishonest"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Eyre paces it with an eye for the telling detail, and Blanchett and Dench give harrowing, fearless performances."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"The characters' motives are base enough, and there's an odd combination of petty incidents having walloping consequences, but the ironies are as delicately layered and "delicious" as they could possibly be without a hint of preciosity."
‑ Alan Dale,
"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."
‑ Jessica Winter, Time Out
"In England, it seems, actresses have nothing to fear from age. They can simply wait for writers to create fresh work for them."
‑ David Denby, New Yorker
"Smart and brash, it's a picture Bette Davis and Joan Crawford would have killed (preferably each other) to be in."
‑ Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly
"Notes on a Scandal is melodrama at its best -- a nasty, wickedly good, over-the-top story with school teachers standing in where vampires usually prowl."
‑ Brandon Fibbs,
"Dench's performance is the greatest pleasure in a hugely enjoyable, highly literate drama."
‑ Lottie Moggach, thelondonpaper
More reviews for Notes on a Scandal on Rotten Tomatoes

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