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Notes on a Scandal (2006)

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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:

Richard Eyre

Writers:

Patrick Marber (screenplay), Zoë Heller (novel) (as Zoe Heller)

Cate Blanchett Through the Years

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 71 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Judi Dench ... Barbara Covett
Cate Blanchett ... Sheba Hart
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ... Ted Mawson
Michael Maloney ... Sandy Pabblem
Joanna Scanlan ... Sue Hodge
Shaun Parkes ... Bill Rumer
Emma Kennedy ... Linda
Syreeta Kumar Syreeta Kumar ... Gita
Andrew Simpson ... Steven Connolly
Phil Davis ... Brian Bangs
Wendy Nottingham Wendy Nottingham ... Elaine Clifford
Tameka Empson Tameka Empson ... Antonia Robinson
Leon Skinner Leon Skinner ... Davis
Bill Nighy ... Richard Hart
Juno Temple ... Polly Hart
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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 secret is another woman's power. One woman's fear is another woman's weapon. One woman's life is in another woman's hands.... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

26 January 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escándalo See more »

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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:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

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

When Sheba confronts Barbara about her diary, the makeup (eyeliner) she has smudged by crying changes. One moment she had dark thick eyeliner on, the next moment she has very little of eyeliner still on, and then the eyeliner comes back as before. 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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Soundtracks

Dizzy
Written by Siouxsie Sioux / Steven Severin / Budgie
Performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Published by Chrysalis Music/Domino
(p) 2002 Siouxsie and the Banshees
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User Reviews

 
Front Row at the Opera
4 January 2007 | by char treuseSee all my reviews

Watching the emotionally intense black comedy, "Notes on a Scandal," you, too, may feel like its main character, Barbara, who reflects in one of her many voice-overs, "The opera has begun and I have a front-row seat." Directed by Richard Eyre ("Iris," "Stage Beauty" and the exceptional TV version of "Suddenly, Last Summer" with Maggie Smith and Natasha Richardson), "Notes" bravely wades into modern-day Grand Guignol as the tension between its two female stars heads inevitably toward a showdown.

Patrick ("Closer") Marber's melodramatic screenplay cleverly makes use of Barbara's voice-overs as she scribbles in her diary and makes jaded, bitter observations about the world around her. Abundant voice-overs usually point toward shortcomings in a drama, but here they provide irony and serve to enhance the dialog.

In her juiciest role since "Mrs Brown," Judi Dench brings an element of sympathy to Barbara, a closeted, self-loathing lesbian school teacher attracted to the new art teacher, Sheba, played by Cate Blanchett. Madly hoping to wrest the heterosexual Sheba from her husband and two children, one of whom has Down Syndrome, Barbara stumbles upon Sheba's sexual dalliance with a 15-year-old student. In a Machiavellian turn, Barbara hopes to manipulate Sheba by maintaining her secret . . . with strings attached. Need I add that all does not go well?

In fact, escalating histrionic fireworks ensue. Blanchett holds her own in this emotional and physical battle royal, capping her incredible year (2006) that also included outstanding performances in "Babel" and "The Good German." As Sheba's husband, Richard, Bill Nighy also comes through with a powerhouse performance. The moody score by Philip Glass is icing on the cake.

At a tidy 92 minutes, "Notes on a Scandal" is highly concentrated and vivid. The recently announced Golden Globe nominations include Dench, Blanchett and Marber, so we can expect Oscar nods as well.


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