7.4/10
68,026
285 user 217 critic

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Popularity
4,458 ( 353)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 68 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Tom Georgeson ...
Ted Mawson
...
Sandy Pabblem
...
...
Bill Rumer
...
Linda
Syreeta Kumar ...
Gita
...
...
Brian Bangs
Wendy Nottingham ...
Elaine Clifford
Tameka Empson ...
Antonia Robinson
Leon Skinner ...
Davis
...
...
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

One Woman's Mistake Is Another's Opportunity... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 January 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escándalo  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,141,364 (United Kingdom), 4 February 2007, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,090, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:

$17,508,670, 20 May 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,196,359, 9 April 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Barbara has had her meeting with the headmaster at which he reveals what he knows about her stalking of Jennifer Dodd, she throws up in a school toilet. In the background, on the wall, is written the graffiti: "Babs Covett = nasty old lezza. I want to lick her mangy twat." See more »

Goofs

Before Brian arrives at Barbara's apartment she has dirt smudges on the left side of her face. When Brian arrives, it has suddenly switched to the right side. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Funky Kingston
Written by Toots Hibbert (as Frederick Hibbert)
Performed by Toots & The Maytals (as Toots and the Maytals)
Produced by Leslie Kong
Reproduced by kind permission of Blue Mountain Music Ltd.
Administered by Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd. (c) 1971
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Under licence from Universal Music Operations Ltd.
Courtesy of D&F Music Frederick Hibbert
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User Reviews

 
Rarely is a film so sublime!

Every film should aspire to be as satisfying as this one is - on every level, and there are so many layers to it all. Nothing is as it appears and the film unwinds in the form of comments and voice-overs from the many journals of the protagonist.

Judi Dench, yet again, sinks her teeth into the part of Barbara Covett, a cynical and acerbic history teacher putting in time in an inner city school.

Enter Cate Blanchett, playing Sheba Hart, the new art teacher, fragile, naive, innocent and hopeful. Or is she? Barbara quickly ensconces herself into Sheba's life, becoming confidante and friend.

And then the plot thickens and assumes the intensity of a thriller as Sheba's life starts to fall apart, secretly abetted by Barbara. The tension does not let up until the very last frame and the viewer is never quite sure where this ride is going.

Sheba and Barbara are very alike at their cores, there is a fragile 'fatal attraction' theme running through their relationship, shadowed by Sheba's impossible affair with a fifteen year old boy which is in turn shadowed by her Down's Syndrome son who is of an age with her student, and again this is shadowed by her daughter's coming of age love troubles and overall the shadow of her own marriage to a much older man, who left his wife and children for her teenage self. I found all of these themes winding again and again throughout the film. The characters are fully rounded and indeed are also shown happy in the bosoms of their individual families but with a distance portrayed as if they are never quite sure of their places within them - always a distraction and secrets.

Barbara has her shadows too and they start to trickle through and become more vocalized and by others, as the stories unfold.

Enough said without spoilers. Bill Nighy, as Sheba's husband ably enhances the two astonishing performances of the female leads.

Movie making at its finest. This is being shown in two theatres in the same complex where I saw it and both were packed. It is very heartening to see a character driven and challenging movie being so popular.

10 out of 10. Superlative, down to the music by Philip Glass.


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