NOTES ON A SCANDAL

More Wages of Sin, Lacking Redemption

Content -3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: December 25, 2006

Starring: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett,
Bill Nighy, Alice Bird, and
Andrew Simpson

Genre: Drama

Audience: Adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 98 minutes

Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Director: Richard Eyre

Executive Producer: Redmond Morris

Producer: Scott Rudin and Robert Fox

Writer: Patrick Marber

Address Comments To:

Stephen Gilula, President
Fox Searchlight Pictures
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A Division of Fox, Inc.
10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 38
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1833
Fax: (310) 369-3175
Website: www.foxsearchlight.com

Content:

(RoRo, B, C, LL, V, SSS, N, A, D, MM) Strong Romantic worldview with people pursuing happiness through personal pleasures and relationships, biblical worldview element in that adultery is clearly called wrong behavior even by those engaged in it, plus a Christmas carol is sung in one scene; 15 obscenities, 11 being the “f” word, and one profanity; children at school get in fight; irate parent attacks a teacher; woman slaps another woman; repeated scenes of an affair between a teacher and student, none showing full nudity but one leaving nothing to the imagination, and male teacher seeks friendly advice about how he might have an adulterous affair he desires; upper male nudity, woman shown in underwear, older woman shown in tub (nothing but shoulders and knees); several instances of alcohol consumption; smoking by both adults and children (in front of adults, without rebuke); and, rampant dishonesty and efforts to manipulate others through emotional blackmail.

Summary:

OTES ON A SCANDAL is a tense story of adultery, dishonesty and manipulation in a London high school that unfolds layer after layer like a mystery. While the acting is excellent, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend it because it is heavily peppered with “f” words, explicit about an affair between a teacher and her student, and lacks a redemptive resolution.

Review:

NOTES ON A SCANDAL is a tense story of sin, dishonesty and manipulation that unfolds layer after layer like a mystery. It features outstanding performances by Dame Judi Dench as Barbara Covett, a lonely elderly high school history teacher, and by Cate Blanchett as Sheba Hart, a first-year art teacher at the same state-run school in London.

The movie is presented from Barbara’s perspective as she enters her thoughts of each day’s events in her diary. Barbara is the kind of person who wants a close friend but who tends to be manipulative. Sheba is the mother of a troubled teenage daughter and a son with Down’s syndrome who, after 12 years of providing personal care, is excited about getting out in the world to work. Unfortunately, she finds that teaching in a modern school is more about maintaining the peace than it is about imparting knowledge. She is attracted to Barbara because Barbara, the self-labeled “old battle ax” has a way of gaining the students’ respect.

Barbara, desperate for a good friend, is delighted to play the role of mentor until she discovers that Sheba has been drawn into a scandalous affair with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson). Rather than turning Sheba in, Barbara uses her knowledge almost like blackmail to expect more and more attention from Sheba.

While all parties involved know that what’s happening is wrong, the affair continues until Sheba refuses to go with Barbara to get her beloved cat that had to be put to sleep. She chooses instead to go see her son in a play. The fuse is lit and some of the wages of sin become apparent. Regrettably, the only redeeming moments in the movie include a chorus class singing a Christmas carol, and the fact that adultery is still considered scandalous by some characters in the movie.

Released December 27th the filmmakers may be hoping for Oscar nominations for the actresses. One should hope the movie will not get nominated for best score because the music attempted to heighten the tension like John Williams did in JAWS. Granted she does not play a sweet character but the here-comes-the-shark-music sounds inappropriate every time Barbara shows up at someone’s door.

In the Bible King David got caught having an affair but that story became one of the most redemptive in history. NOTES ON A SCANDAL intentionally leaves the audience wondering if a sequel would just show another round of emotional destruction. Like in some serial killer movie you are introduced to the next victim.

Despite the excellent performances, MOVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend NOTES ON A SCANDAL because it is heavily peppered with “f” words, explicit about an affair between a teacher and her student, and lacks in any redemptive resolution.

In Brief:

NOTES ON A SCANDAL is a tense story of sin, dishonesty and manipulation that unfolds layer after layer like a mystery. It features outstanding performances by Dame Judi Dench as Barbara Covett, a lonely elderly high school history teacher, and by Cate Blanchett as Sheba Hart, a first year art teacher at the same state school in London. Barbara makes a friend out of Sheba by demonstrating her “old battle ax” technique for controlling students, something Sheba is needs to know. The friendship starts to become twisted when Barbara discovers Sheba is having an affair with a 15-year-old student. Rather than turning Sheba in, Barbara uses her knowledge almost like blackmail to expect more and more attention from Sheba. Tension builds until it can be held no longer.

NOTES ON A SCANDAL intentionally leaves the audience wondering if a sequel would just show another round of emotional destruction. Like in some serial killer movie you are introduced to the next victim. MOVIEGUIDE® cannot recommend NOTES ON A SCANDAL because it is heavily peppered with “f” words, explicit about an affair between a teacher and her student, and lacks a redemptive resolution.