Notes on a Scandal

Directed By: Richard Eyre Starring: Judi Dench Cate Blanchett

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Product Overview

A pottery teacher enters into an affair with one of her students, causing upheaval in her personal and professional lives.


Studio Foxvideo
SKU 204145783
UPC 024543438915
UPC 14 00024543438915
Format DVD
Release Date 4/17/2007
Rating Rating
Love Affairs
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Dame Judi Dench and Kate Blanchett face off with searing performances in this riveting tale of obsession and desire. Based on the novel by Zoe Heller, NOTES ON A SCANDAL is the story of Barbara Covett (Dench), a hard-nosed spinster schoolteacher, and her poisonous friendship with fellow teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett). When the young and beautiful Sheba shows up as the new art instructor, everyone is charmed by her, including the embittered Barbara. Barbara is thrilled when her lonely life is shaken up by Sheba's overtures of friendship, as Sheba invites her to share in family dinners, and opens up to her about her marital troubles and personal longing. Barbara narrates her own feelings of longing to us from her meticulous diaries, and it becomes increasingly clear that her take on the friendship is uncomfortably intense, if not borderline delusional. Things reach a fever pitch when Barbara happens upon Sheba dallying in the art room with a 15-year-old student. She tells Sheba that she must end the affair at once, but decides not to report her to the school, and instead, to use her knowledge of the indiscretion to draw Sheba closer to her, and put her in her debt. But when Barbara's demands on Sheba become too high, things soon unravel, setting off a chain of events that will leave viewers chewing their nails to the quick, but unable to tear their eyes away.^Both Blanchett and Dench are dazzling to watch as they deftly handle the barbed wit of Patrick Marber's screenplay. Directed by Richard Eyre of the Northern Theatre of London, and with a score by Philip Glass, NOTES ON A SCANDAL takes what could serve as mere tabloid fodder and plays it out on the level of Shakespearean tragedy.
Box Office "The performances here are uniformly excellent, especially Dench's..." 12/01/2006 p.63
Rolling Stone 3 stars out of 4 -- "Dame Judi lets us know this is a women of dark secrets. It's spellbinding to watch her blow the lid off." 12/28/2006 p.121
Movieline's Hollywood Life "Dench brings wit as well as vulnerability and menace to her depiction....The film is expertly crafted..." 01/01/2007 P.96
Total Film 3 stars out of 5 -- "Patrick Marber's script crackles when it comes to collisions of private life with public view." 07/01/2007 p.125
Richard Eyre
Judi Dench
Cate Blanchett
Cast & Crew
Antonia Van Drimmelen - Editor
Bill Nighy - Actor
Cate Blanchett - Actor
Chris Menges - Cinematographer
Grant Armstrong - Art Director
John Bloom - Editor
Judi Dench - Actor
Mark Raggett - Art Director
Michael Maloney - Actor
Patrick Marber - Screenplay
Philip Glass - Original Music By
Redmond Morris - Executive Producer
Richard Eyre - Director
Scott Rudin - Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2006
Catalog ID 2243898
UPC 00024543438915
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 121.333333333333 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English
Available Audio Tracks English, French Dubbed, Spanish Dubbed
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
Nominee (2007) British Academy Awards, Scott Rudin, et. al., Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film,British Academy Awards, Judi Dench, Best Actress in a Leading Role,Golden Globe, Judi Dench, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama,Golden Globe, Cate Blanchett, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture,Oscar, Judi Dench, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role,Oscar, Cate Blanchett, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role,Oscar, Patrick Marber, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay,Oscar, Philip Glass, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score,Screen Actors Guild, Judi Dench, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role,Screen Actors Guild, Cate Blanchett, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Oscar (2007) Cate Blanchett, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role,Judi Dench, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role,Patrick Marber, Nominee, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay,Philip Glass, Nominee, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Golden Globe (2007) Cate Blanchett, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture,Judi Dench, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama,Patrick Marber, Nominee, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild (2007) Cate Blanchett, Nominee, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role,Judi Dench, Nominee, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
British Academy Awards (2007) Judi Dench, Nominee, Best Actress in a Leading Role,Patrick Marber, Nominee, Best Screenplay - Adapted,Scott Rudin, et. al., Nominee, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
ReviewSource DVD Talk
Review Based on the novel "What Was She Thinking?" by Zoe Heller, "Notes on a Scandal" has been repositioned as an acting main event, pitting two of our best actresses against each other in a highly theatrical motion picture of Letourneauesque deviance and a "Fatal Attraction" level of obsession...That pungent smell of exploitation is exactly why "Notes" is so much fun. Watching these characters prey on each other's emotions and fears, vaulting back and forth between compassion and disgust, lends the film psychological thriller undertones that goes a long way to combating the picture abruptness...Portraying the most encrusted cat-lady of them all, Dench sinks her fangs into the spinster role, brandishing Marber's dialogue like a lethal weapon; she's Selma Bouvier with a sniper's rifle for a tongue.
Reviewer Brian Orndorf
ReviewRating 8
Review A sensational performance by Judi Dench anchors the surprisingly tense and, at times, deliciously lurid Notes on a Scandal. Adapted by Patrick Marber (Closer) from the novel by Zoe Heller, the film feels like a throwback to something Robert Aldrich might've directed in the 1960s. Notes is nowhere near as campy as, say, Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or even The Killing of Sister George (to which it bears a fair kinship), but it successfully pits two women--one weak, one strong--against each other in ways that are gripping, twisty, and memorably creepy...As its stands, Brit helmer Richard Eyre (Iris) has crafted an economical, highly effective suspense flick that knows precisely when to let all hell break loose.
Reviewer Gary Goldstein
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review Notes on a Scandal is an attempt to make a Fatal Attraction type thriller for the art house crowd. With a cast that features two of today's best actresses - Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett - and a screenplay of uncommon literacy, the movie nearly achieves its aim. However, in order to propel circumstances to a conclusion, Notes on a Scandal relies upon a contrivance so ugly and obvious that it's impossible to ignore. This single glaring fault, which is even more evident considering how well constructed the rest of the movie is, damages the film's narrative flow and credibility...Much of the film's credibility results from the cast. Judi Dench once again reminds viewers how wide her range is. Consider that in roughly the last year, she has played the sprightly owner of a nude revue (Mrs. Henderson Presents), the head of MI6 (Casino Royale), and the twisted Barbara. She essays each role with such conviction that it's difficult to believe we're watching a single actress. Cate Blanchett's part is not as showy, but she gets an opportunity to play a sexual being, something not often offered to her...Notes on a Scandal contains interesting material and, as presented by Dench and Blanchett, the narrative gains strength and immediacy. However, the most important part of any thriller - even one as upper crust as this - is the resolution, and that's where Notes on a Scandal falls on its face. The ending itself isn't bad but the single act leading to it is unforgivable. Those who aren't bothered by this kind of contrivance (and, in many ways, it's no worse than what we have come to expect from thrillers with a lesser pedigree) may enjoy Notes on a Scandal. Others like me will wonder why the filmmakers couldn't have taken the few steps that would have elevated their project to something consistently smart and edgy.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource The Onion A.V. Club
Review A lot is right about Notes On A Scandal, starting with Judi Dench's performance as a bitter spinster teacher, alternately enraged and titillated by the actions of a young colleague, Cate Blanchett, who has an affair with one of her teenage students. Dench takes the audience into her confidence, narrating from her diary as she uses her intimate knowledge to coerce Blanchett into becoming her friend--and maybe something even closer. But Dench is an unreliable narrator, so viewers can see what she can't: that Blanchett is such a fundamentally sweet woman that she'd probably have been Dench's friend anyway, and that Dench is the kind of miserably proper English lady who'd never admit to herself that she has sexual needs of her own...A lot is wrong about Notes On A Scandal too, starting with a frenetic Phillip Glass score that absurdly heightens nearly every scene in which it's used, squeezing the wit out of what might've been a wicked black comedy. Though maybe Glass was just taking his cues from director Richard Eyre and screenwriter Patrick Marber; in adapting Zoe Heller's novel, they've reduced these characters to their basest impulses, and made only the most facile, sophomore-psych-class-level attempts to understand them...Notes On A Scandal is extra-frustrating because it's mostly very smart, and full of keen observations about the differences between Dench's buttoned-down, disapproving generation and Blanchett's wide-open, accepting one, and how neither group is very happy with the choices they've made. (Bridging the gap: Bill Nighy, playing Blanchett's cuckolded husband as a man who wants to be cool but can't.) And Dench herself is a marvel, expressing both her character's deep loneliness and the obnoxious propriety that makes her so hard to like. But Eyre and Marber don't heed the cautionary example of their heroine. A movie about a woman who holds in her desires until she cracks shouldn't itself be so brittle.
Reviewer Noel Murray
ReviewRating 6
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, English, Subtitled, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Dench,Judi
Label Fox Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
David Ansen, Newsweek A wicked delight...a melodrama of two women in the grips of wildly inappropriate obsessions, and a "Fatal Attraction"-style thriller.
J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader ...this gripping drama...[is] both literate and urgently plotted, with a voice-over from Dench that cuts like broken glass.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly ...a poison bonbon tastier than just about anything else out there.
Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle ...if you like your films strong, this one is not to be missed.
Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian Oacks more heat, acid, danger and drama into its brief running time than most films of nearly double the length.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Spellbinding. Explosive acting from Dench and Blanchett.

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