This film was outstanding and is well-deserving of any future accolades, Oscar or otherwise. The acting and writing were superb, and there was never a minute in the film that didn’t count for something. Starring Judi Dench (Casino Royale) and Cate Blanchett (Babel), the movie tells the story of a young fresh-faced teacher named Sheba (Blanchett) who begins an illicit tryst with a student – Mary Kay Letourneau style. The film is masterfully narrated by Dench’s character Barbara, an older teacher who has taken a shall we say, healthy interest in Sheba. Barbara fluctuates between maternal friendship with Sheba and sexual longing for her. I’ve never seen Judi Dench in such a role, not that I’m terribly familiar with her work anyway, but still. It was creepy-good. Blanchett, conversely is both sympathetic and repugnant. She is, after all, sleeping with a 15-year old. There’s no excusing that, even though the boy is a willing participant. However, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her character when she became the object of Barbara’s predatory obsession. Think Single White Female for the AARP crowd.
Notes on A Scandal is the best movie I’ve seen this year, so far. The performances of the two leads were outstanding. Dench portrayed Barbara as the well-intentioned schoolmarm with a hint of menace lurking beneath the surface. Blanchett is naively selfish, acting without consequence until it’s too late. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie that wasn’t at least mildly disappointing in some fashion. Notes on A Scandal was a refreshing change from the norm, and definitely worth seeing.