Movie Review: ‘Notes on a Scandal’ ultimately rings hollow


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.

Notes on a Scandal


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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