Judi Dench rocked me. In Notes on a Scandal Judi delivered one of the great performances in movie history. You can actually see the classic status settling in with each line she delivers.
We'll have tough competition this year in the best actress category with the performances from Helen Mirren, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Hudson and now Judi Dench. Judi was born to play this bitter bitch. The acting and the movie are superb; the light on the gays, not so much.
In Notes on a Scandal Cate Blanchett is a daddy's girls who goes into teaching after raising her two kids. She befriends Judi Dench, who teaches at the same school, and before you can say Mary Kay Letourneau, Cate puts out big time for a student. Judi learns about the secret and blackmails the shit out of Cate while delivering wry pieces of her mind to us viewers, she narrates most of her thoughts. Awesome.
The writing is superb and Judi delivers like Domino's. A lot of people complain that movie adaptations usually fail to capture the essence of a book, and that complaint usually makes sense; if anything because books can give you a gateway into a character's mind and thoughts, you read about what the character is feeling at every moment, feelings are spelled out; but when those feelings are all spelled out onscreen (if they are at all) what was beautiful in the book can become quite annoying. Gladly, this is not the case here. Seriously. The adaptation fromt the book is great. The movie is perfect, I would not change a thing.
I will talk about the gay content in the movie but that will give away too much of the plot. So, read on or go see Notes on a Scandal, now! Despite the not so great light for the gays, I strongly recommend that you see this movie. It is just that good.
It was a little hard for me to give this movie a Shipwreck rating because it is almost an honor to have the most interesting character in the story be a lesbian, and played by such an amazing actress. Yes, Judi does go lesbos on Notes on a Scandal; even though some critics disagree: "Some might read [Judi Dench's] character as a lesbian caricature, but she's too deluded for that. Barbara [Judi's character] can't even see the closet, let alone all that's hanging in it."
It is clear to me that her character is a lesbian. She may not be an out lesbian, not even out to herself, but she loves women, that is very clear. Also, her love may be sick but it's still love, I think.
Anyway, Judi's character is a smart, feared, no bullshit, authoritative kind of bitch (all of which is not necessarily bad), but she is, no doubt, a bitter dried-up monster who only cares about herself and that is not so great for the gays. But again, despite the not so great light for the gays, I strongly recommend that you see this movie.
Oh, and the seduced student is played by Andrew Simpson, who just turned 18 in real life (he looks better in the movie).