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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 62,215 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 277 user | 215 critic | 35 from

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 18 wins & 52 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?


Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench and Anne-Marie Duff have all played Queen Elizabeth I. Cate in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Judi in Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Anne-Marie in The Virgin Queen (2005). See more »


When Sheba is rampaging through Barbara's house in search of her journal, you can see a crew member in the mirror behind her as she goes to sit. 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 »


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
See more »

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User Reviews

Even better than the book
5 January 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw this at a preview last night. It is a brilliant, absorbing little piece from Zoe Heller's novel about a teacher (Cate Blanchett, looking stunning) who has an affair with a 15 year old pupil and the effect this has on her relationship with a bitter, older teacher seeking selfishly for love (Judy Dench, looking 100). Great performances all round, with special mention to Bill Nighy in the Bill Nighy role. The script (Patrick Marber) is faithful to the book but enjoyable though the book was the film is actually - for a change - even better. Beautifully filmed in North London and Eastbourne (presumably the school scenes) this movie is definitely a must see.

67 of 93 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The movie left out some really good stuff from the book. SeeMyVest
Paracetamol bcubedgirl
Is Sheba the villain? very-blue
37yr old simulating sex with a 16yr old? asanal
Screenplay? scar112
Eastbourne? lucvischer-1
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