A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
The bitter, cynical and lonely Barbara Covett is a tough and conservative teacher, near to retirement, who is loathed by her colleagues and students. In the loneliness of her apartment, she spends her spare time writing her journal, taking care of her old cat Portia and missing her special friend Jennifer Dodd. When Sheba Hart joins the high-school as the new art teacher, Barbara dedicates her attention to the newcomer, writing sharp and unpleasant comments about her behavior and clothes. When Barbara helps Sheba in a difficult situation with two students, the grateful Sheba invites her to have lunch with her family. Sheba introduces her husband and former professor Richard Hart, who is about twenty years older than she; her rebellious teenager daughter Polly; and her son Ben that has Down's Syndrome. Barbara becomes close to Sheba, but when she accidentally discovers that Sheba is having an affair with the fifteen year-old student Steven Connolly, Barbara sees the chance to ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Sheba confronts Barbara about her diary, the makeup (eyeliner) she has smudged by crying changes. One moment she had dark thick eyeliner on, the next moment she has very little of eyeliner still on, and then the eyeliner comes back as before. See more »
[voiceover of Barbara writing in her diary]
People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you.
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State of the art acting by Dench, Blanchett and Nighy
What a treat to watch three of the best actors of our time in the same movie! Judy Dench is an international treasure; Cate Blanchett never looked better or created a more compelling character in any of her other movies, and I had the good fortune to discover Bill Nighy on Broadway in "The Vertical Hour" with Julianne Moore the night before I saw "Notes from a Scandal," and I now want to see everything he's done. A superlative creator of character. "Notes from a Scandal" tells us a lot about the "British" penchant for relishing "scandals" (they invented the tabloid press) and also about the odd, intersecting relationships that have become a nearly commonplace reality in the contemporary world. Both Blanchett and Dench (as Sheba and Barbara) teach at the same Islington secondary school. And both, in very different ways, embark on "inappropriate" relationships that create turmoil in their lives and the lives of their community. Judy Dench conveys the desperate loneliness of her character's life and a remarkable scene of her smoking a cigarette in a bathtub conveys the distinction between her kind of loneliness--an older, unattractive, single woman with no real connections in life--and the more endurable kinds of loneliness that many of us share. This is a gripping film that moves crisply from one scene to the next, missing only a very few beats along the way. A must see.
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