Notes on a Scandal

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench. Written by Patrick Marber. Directed by Richard Eyre.

FILM SYNOPSIS: When Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) joins St. George's as the new art teacher, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) senses a kindred spirit. But Barbara is not the only one drawn to her. Sheba begins an illicit affair with a 15-year-old student and Barbara becomes the keeper of her secret. Notes on a Scandal is a story of loneliness, loyalty, envy and love.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Come awards time, Hollywood seems bent on dismissing the feel-good movie, let alone the feel-good ending. Certainly, some of these bleak storylines are credible as they carry an impassioned message within their sleazy or morose plotlines. The belief of the filmmakers, I suspect, is that viewers may avoid the same pitfalls if allowed to view the moral ambiguity of screen characters. These past few months, most films to be taken seriously by the Oscar folks have contained a bleak, dark look at the future or the bleak, dark side of our fellow man. And one of the few exceptions The Nativity Story well, nobody went to see it. After being subjected to such dispiriting subject matter in award-contender after award-contender, one begins to suspect that serious filmmakers prefer the darker side of mankinds nature. Okay, it makes for good drama, but some of these picture makers avoid the light much like Dracula shuns the sign of the cross.

A mix of todays headlines blended with a female take on Fatal Attraction, Notes on a Scandals phlegmatic script has to do with one female teacher hot for her student while another female teacher is hot for her. Though well-structured and meticulously acted by the eloquent Dame Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal is also bleak and dark. Though it is somewhat enticing mainly for its acting quality, the films content is sordid. Of course, whats sordid to one movie-goer, is catnip to another.

Video Alternative: Vertigo. Complex Hitchcock romantic thriller about ex-cop hired to follow a woman whom he soon falls in love with. The directors powerful imagery and James Stewarts remarkable performance focus on obsession and hidden fears.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are a couple of crude sexual innuendos.

Obscene Language: Around twelve obscenities (a combo of the s- and f-words some from teens) and a few minor expletives (damns and hells).

Profanity: Two profane uses of Gods name both from a teenage girl.

Violence: A woman slaps another; an outraged mother attacks the woman who has seduced her teenaged son.

Sex: There are a couple of sexual encounters, one rather graphic, between a woman and a 15-year-old boy; the Judi Dench character harbors lesbian feelings.

Nudity: The camera carefully avoids showing the fornicating couple explicitly.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Sex with the underage boy is discussed.

Drugs: Social drinking. Two teenagers smoke, one in front of her parents.

Other: Heres a new one, weve seen men urinating in movies, I can even remember seeing a film with a woman sitting on the pot; but in this one, we actually see the woman wiping herself; theres just no decorum left in movies.

Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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