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Notes on a Scandal

User Thread
 62yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Chiron is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Notes on a Scandal
Based upon the true story of a schoolteacher who was convicted for having an affair with her 15-year old pupil; this movie is a brilliant play on the conventional roles of sexual power, betrayal and predation.

The movie is seamlessly made with outstanding performances by all, and Judi Dench makes a refreshing update from previous female predators (Glen Close in Fatal Attraction and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct) who nevertheless both conformed to the cock-tease notion of Hollywood Glamour.

No other actress comes to mind with the same ability to look the viewer squarely in the eye without the slightest attempt at seduction, and nevertheless communicate power. This is enhanced by our genuine surprise at discovering a steely, manipulative, sexual predator residing inside a frowsy old maid.

Judi Dench plays the aging spinster, generally regarded by her peers as ‘moral guardian' commanding much respect in a school where she teaches teenagers.
She is also shown as a lonely closet-lesbian living with her cat and daily dairy-writing habits, and a glimpse of her pushing her supermarket trolley under florescent lights that expose thinning hair and sagging features presents a paradigm of the disenfranchised elderly that inspires our pity.

Another decoy is witnessing the pathetic preparation she makes in response to a luncheon invitation: The buying of a new frock, the hair-do appointment, the bouquet of flowers, and then the sad inability to ‘fit-in' with a middle-class family occasion.

As the protagonist, she also narrates the story with a great deal of wit and insight into the lives of others. And thus our affection and sympathy for her character is developed, mirroring the perspective of her ‘victim' (played by Cate Blanchette) who is a young pretty wife/schoolteacher in trouble and in need of a friend.

On the surface of things the young teacher who has the affair with her pupil is viewed as the sexual predator. But an interesting twist occurs as conventions are skewed when we discover that she has also become the hapless victim of circumstance, and is herself prey to unexpected sexual manipulations.

A riveting film with an excellent script full of wit and satire.

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Notes on a Scandal
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