“Academy Award® winners Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give wickedly entertaining, Oscar-nominated performances – one as a woman consumed by her colleague’s guilty secret, the other, a victim to her own dark obsessions – in this sexy, stylish thriller. Dench mesmerizes as Barbara Covett, a teacher who rules over her classroom with an iron fist, yet leads a desperate, solitary life outside it. That is, until she meets radiant new art teacher Sheba Hart (Blanchett). Although at first overjoyed with her newfound kindred spirit, when Barbara discovers that Sheba is having an affair with a teenage student, her jealously and rage spiral out of control.
“Notes on a Scandal” is rated R for language and some aberrant sexual content.
That being said, “Notes on a Scandal” certainly features strong performances across the board. Judi Dench is one of the most evil and manipulative women to grace the big screen in a long time. The twist of her character going from narrator to antagonist is quite a turn. Cate Blanchett also rather bravely dives into her character. She’s not very sympathetic and Blanchett perfectly portrays her decent into despair as her scandal unfolds.
If you’re a fan of psychological dramas, Judy Dench, or Cate Blanchett, then this is a movie you’ll probably find well worth checking out.
There are quite a few bonus features included on the DVD. You’ll find a commentary by director Richard Eyre. This is followed by “Notes on a Scandal: The Story of Two Obsessions”. It’s a featurette which covers the development of the story. “Notes on a Scandal: Behind the Scenes” is another featurette that analyzes the characters and the performances. You’ll also find a TV show from the Fox Channel entitled “In Character with Cate Blanchett”. It’s mostly a recap of film, but there is also an interview with Blanchett. I as surprised to find that there were Webisodes and they’re all included here. They is Judi and Cate: Behind the Scandal, The Screenplay, Judi Dench, and Cate Blanchett. Wrapping things up is A Conversation with Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy.