Notes on a Scandal

If “Single White Female” (1992) is a rusted rough-travelling 1975 Charger, then “Notes on a Scandal” is that same 1975 Charger with the rust removed; a good oil-and-grease and a nifty new paint job that makes it look almost brand new.


Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Michael Maloney

If “Single White Female” (1992) is a rusted rough-travelling 1975 Charger, then “Notes on a Scandal” is that same 1975 Charger with the rust removed; a good oil-and-grease and a nifty new paint job that makes it look almost brand new.

Patrick Marber’s script for “Scandal”, a new two-hander starring thespians Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, is eerily similar to one of those jealous psycho friends films of the 90s, but unlike say, Don Roo‘s libretto for “Female” – remember that one? Jennifer Jason Leigh is obsessed with new roommate, Bridget Fonda, and starts to emulate her and eventually, pretends to be her – it’s such a class act that you’re fooled into believing it’s the first film of its kind.

Based on the book by Zoë Heller, this captivating battle of the broads tells of a sour battle-axe of a school teacher (Dench) – a woman who strangely attaches herself to people- who discovers the shocking secret – that she’s having an affair with a 15-year-old student – of a new associate (Blanchett). Barbara sees the secret as her ticket to gaining a friend though, and decides that she won’t inform the authorities, as long as Sheba remains her ‘best’ friend (or more).

Credit to the fantastic – and versatile – Judi Dench (absolutely terrifying here), the always magnetising Cate Blanchett (even more mesmerising than usual) and the always immerse Bill Nighy (in one of his most likeable performances to date) for fooling the mind into thinking they’re watching a blisteringly original picture. Points also to director Richard Eyre (who worked with Dench on “Iris”), whose effective pacing and inability to go over the top, zolts the film into another stratosphere to similar pictures. It’s a popcorn thriller, sure, but it’s the classy high-end caramelised corn-type of thriller.

It’s fluff, but it’s good fluff.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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