Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Notes on a Scandal

Gah! I've read a lot of mixed reviews about this film and I did not think that it was going to be as great as it was. The tension throughout the movie was so high, that it made me cringe.
It's about Barbara (Judi Dench), a lonely sixtysomething spinster, who works at an awful school and who's disliked by her collegues. However, when an inexperienced young teacher, Sheba (Cate Blanchett) comes to teach at the school, she finally makes a friend. But Sheba has a secret life, which becomes clear to Barbara.
Let me start with the nominated screenplay: it's very good. The story is terrific, the scenes are excellently written, so the nomination was worthy, but a win would have been too much.
But not for Dench: she's so damn perfect. Her loneliness, her sadness and bitterness ad the way she portrays a spinster living a pathetic life and being a useless for other people. A person who has to answer every time her relatives ask "Have you met someone?", who becomes desperate and loses every connection SPOILER! when her cat dies (oh, the scene where she buries it is unforgettable). She's unforgettable and I think she gave the performance of her lifetime. So, I love Helen Mirren, but I think Dench owned that category.
Blanchett is also exceptional in her very difficult role, her performance is also excellent, but her part does not involve the possibility to be as unbelievable as Dench was. The nomination was worthy, even though Abigail Breslin may have been a bit better. But let me tell you Blanchett was a lot better than Jennifer Hudson.
I think Bill Nighy also could have been nominated instead of Eddie Murphy (I'm always super-pissed when people say that Murphy should have won).
And I forgot to mention the magnificent score of Philip Glass. I've always been a big fan of his scores (if you haven't seen Koyaanisquatsi watch it, it's terrific) and this one is no exception. It really SHOULD HAVE WON over the music of Babel, which was really nothing.
Ok, so you should all watch Notes on a Scandal. It's compulsory for Dench-fans, but I guess they've all seen it. (I mean how can you miss the best performance of the actress you love) :-) So, great entertainment.
My grade: 8/10
Nominations: Best Actress (Judi Dench); Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Original Score
My wins: Best Actress and Score and maybe Best Supporting Actress

1 comment:

joe burns said...

I really liked this movie. Should have been nominated for Best Picture, in my opinion. Dench is also my choice for Best Actress.