NOTES ON A SCANDAL (Richard Eyre, 2006)

From Patrick Marber’s script based on Zoe Heller’s novel, Richard Eyre’s Notes on a Scandal is a self-congratulatory melodrama about a spinster schoolteacher’s manipulation of a younger colleague after she discovers that the latter is having an affair with a 15-year-old pupil. Judi Dench is fastidious in an unpleasant role, while Cate Blanchett is without form or center as the younger teacher, a “bourgeois bohemian,” and the mother of a daughter her lover’s age. One powerful performance, though, nearly brought me to tears: Bill Nighy’s as the spouse, who is given the one good line: “I know I wasn’t fucking fabulous, but I was here!

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