Notes on a Scandal ...A falling-off-a-chair thriller
This is one of the most anticipated Oscar-nominated movies for me. I remember seeing this movie's DVD on the shelf in Walmart with the price of around $20 back then when I was in USA a month ago, hesitating to pick it up because of its price and the fact that I might not manage to understand it through with just an English subtitle, and finally leaving for Thailand without it. However, something brought me to a video shop after having finished lunch with my friend at Central Pinklao a few days ago, and I found this yellow-faced Cate Blanchett in front of the red one of Dame Judi Dench's once again. Of course, I hesitated to buy it but this time ended up buying its VCD instead of DVD whose price in baht just killed me.
Notes on a Scandal was made a film from the novel with the same title. It told the story about a lonely old teacher in London, Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) whose life became alive again by the arrival of a young and beautiful new teacher, Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett). They became close friends in a very short time as Barbara helped Sheba through problems in the school made by troublesome students, increasing Barbara's obsession towards Sheba who seemed, for Barbara, to be the missing piece of her life. One day, Barbara accidentally found out about Sheba's dirty little secret ,giving her an opportunity to make Sheba her own and be no more lonely... Ooh! How was it? Interesting enough? The plot might lead you to the idea of lesbian relationship but I have to say that's exactly not the point this movie wanted to tell. I think it's all about trying to find a happiness once in a lifetime. All characters desperately needed to be happy by looking for something new to hold on, but unfortunately some of them chose to commit something unacceptably wrong and ended up in tragedies. For example, Sheba's coming was like a shining light to Barbara's boring and empty life that Barbara wanted to have an even more closer friendship and completely possesed Sheba. Like Barbara, though her life seemed almost perfect with a caring family, Sheba still wanted to seek for the true happiness which came from her sole decision. The plot itself was pure breathtaking and it got even better when it was told in a drama-thriller style. It's damn thrilling that I almost fell off the chair when watching one scene where Blanchett ...err ...to Dench. Well, I can't tell you because it'll spoil the movie. Anyway, I definitely guarantee that it's very very very fun to watch. Even though there were few impossibilities and unnecessities going on, you just can ignore them and continue watching without taking your eyes off any scene. Another thing that really impressed me was the score. Damn, they were all fit in with the tone of all scenes really well and very great at helping your feeling towards the scenes to reach the peak, giving you rounds of goosebumps.
However, without those red face and yellow face, the movie won't be so extraordinary as it is. Dame Judi Dench's performance is one of the best I've ever seen from her. Once again she worked with the director of 'Iris' which earned her an Oscar nomination 5 years ago, Richard Eyre who is really good at making movies that are extremely fun to watch (Check out this one or 'Iris' and you'll find that it's not just a slow and boring drama.). As Barbara, a miserable changeable menopause lady, Dame really pulled it off. I felt sorry for her in some parts, but in the next minute her freak terrified me. Oh boy! I'm so scared ...but of this lady too! Cate Blanchett as a troubled Sheba, though most of the time she seemed so innocent and never fought back, who's gonna think! Just keep your eyes on the last ...I don't know 15 minutes of the movie. Man! I had to hold on to the armrests. This is the first movie of hers I've ever seen (Not including Babel and The Lord of the Rings which I almost forgot she was in.) and you know what? She's got my heart. Her beauty, charm, skills, and everything has done this role right. All I know is that from 4 performances of the Best Supporting Actress nominees (Barraza, Kikuchi, Breslin, and Blancett) I've seen, I love her most. I wish she could beat J. Hud. Other actors like Bill Nighy in the role of Richard, Sheba's loyal husband also did a good job ...but you know, the film is red face's and yellow face's.
So... I totally recommend this! Nothing so complicated, other than the fact that I'm completely blown away by it!
P.S. 1. Please visit my friend's blog, BloodyMonday, who also wrote a review of this film. P.S. 2. The song you're listening to , 'Stupid' by Sarah McLachlan, has nothing to do with the movie. I just felt like listening to it after the movie was over. That's all...