A wildly overpraised Fatal Attraction derivation from director Richard Eyre, Notes on a Scandal nevertheless entertains due to excellent performances from its two leads.
Teacher Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) befriends new art instructor Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett); when Barbara witnesses Sheba having an affair with an underage student, she uses the information to manipulate her way deeper into Sheba´s life.
Dench seethes with insidious obsession and performs the role with Shakespearian bravura; Blanchett plays off her brilliantly, revealing the multiple layers that allow her to become an object of obsession for a schoolboy and her older colleague.
Eyre´s direction is adequate but Patrick Marber´s screenplay deflates everything, as it inevitably falls prey to genre trappings; this is a film driven by contrivance and emotion over logic.
Still good fun; worth watching for the performances. Disarmingly similar to Roger Michell´s overlooked 2004 thriller, Enduring Love.