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
Jason Reitman read the script and wanted to direct it. He called up the producers on the phone with the intention of getting the job. The producers answered: "We are in editing right now, but I hope you'll like the film when it comes out." See more »
The LP that Steven picks up in Sheba's workshop is "Kaleidoscope" by Siouxsie and the Banshees (1980). The band's song that plays over the scene, however, is "Dizzy," which was first released as a single in 1992. 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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Certainly a very stylish drama, riveting and brilliant, rising above the modern-day thrillers due to stunning performances of two very gifted actresses. It's both dramatic and funny, Judy Dench and Cate Blanchett are delicious and so talented that they turn a misanthrope cat and mouse game into a politically correct entertaining account. This strong emotional battle is not only something about teacher-student sex, it's also an obsessing blackmail. Without exaggerating it could be deemed "memorable", as revelations abound, tempers flare all the time and every single confidence is shared. Never boring and deep.
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