A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her fifteen-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond a platonic friendship.
Bitter, cynical, and lonely Barbara Covett (Dame Judi Dench) 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 in her journal, taking care of her old cat Portia, and missing her special friend Jennifer Dodd. When Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) 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 (Bill Nighy), who is about twenty years older than her; her rebellious teenager daughter Polly (Juno Temple); and her son Ben (Max Lewis), who has Down's Syndrome. Barbara becomes close to Sheba, but when she accidentally discovers that Sheba is having an affair with ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Steven is stated as being fifteen years old and in Year 10. Pupils become fifteen during Year 10 (except in exceptional circumstances). Later in the film, Sheba states that he is going to be sixteen in May, i.e. he was already fifteen before entering Year 10. 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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