Notes on a Scandal is one of those grate little movies that is filled with powerful moments of intensity. Mostly this is due to the note perfect and captivating performances of two leads who are at the top of their game.
Notes on a Scandal is the story of a senior teacher who becomes obsessed with a younger colleague. She discovers the young teacher is having an affair with one of her underage students and uses this information to manipulate her into a twisted friendship.
Judy Dench plays the older teacher who is ravished in her repressed loneliness, latching onto the young teacher who turns to her for help and then for security. Cate Blanchett is the object of her affection, a confused woman bumbling through her life making one mistake after another. Both women are masters and both challenge themselves with these roles, each meeting and even surpassing the challenge. These are the kinds of performances awards are given for but they are also the kinds of performances that are riveting to watch. You donít want to pull your eyes away from them when they are onscreen.
Fortunately, the film makers donít make the mistake of keeping these two off screen for very long. Notes on a Scandal is tight in its structure. It moves along at a quick but not rushed pace. The affair isnít the focus of the movie, nor are these womenís other relationships. The script stays focused on them and how they each spiral downward together.
Notes on a Scandal has a powerful story underlying it, but thatís really not the point. It is the relationship that is fascinating and these two performances are perfect. The only scandal would be if it goes unwatched.