Friday, March 02, 2007

Notes on a Scandal (2006)

***
UK

A melodrama from a mindset where a married teacher who screws her 15-year-old student is a woman misunderstood, while an aging lonely lesbian is a monstrosity. The Philip Glass score is a dangerous one - it invites you to take the picture seriously. At the same time however, it complements and amplifies the hysteria to a pitch that forces you to sit back and spot the overwhelming silliness of the premise. It helps you understand that it's entirely possible to have fun with the movie if you let the lunacy wash over you and ensure that none of it sticks behind for afterthought.
As the adulteress Cate Blanchett is predictable and flimsy, but as the crazed dyke Judi Dench is unleashed under no pressure to be lovable. The bizarreness of the role encourages her to let loose with it. She remains fiercely committed as ever, but she's also much more creative. She's magnificent.

dir: Richard Eyre
wr: Patrick Marber
cast: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Juno Temple, Emma Kennedy

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