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Notes on a Scandal (2006)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  26 January 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 62,631 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 278 user | 216 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 58 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Georgeson ...
Syreeta Kumar ...
Brian Bangs (as Phil Davis)
Wendy Nottingham ...
Tameka Empson ...
Leon Skinner ...


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Loneliness can turn one into a monster. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some aberrant sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 January 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escándalo  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,090 (USA) (22 December 2006)


$17,508,670 (USA) (18 May 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nicholas Hoult went through several auditions for the role that Andrew Simpson eventually played. See more »


When Barbara tries to tear away Sheba to return to the vet's office with her, the front passenger-side door of Sheba's automobile is opened/closed from shot to shot. See more »


[first lines]
Barbara Covett: [voiceover of Barbara writing in her diary] People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you.
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Written by Siouxsie Sioux / Steven Severin / Budgie
Performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Published by Chrysalis Music/Domino
(p) 2002 Siouxsie and the Banshees
See more »

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User Reviews

State of the art acting by Dench, Blanchett and Nighy
29 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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The movie left out some really good stuff from the book. SeeMyVest
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