Wednesday, February 1, 2012

30 Days of Oscar Day 8: Notes on a Scandal

Movie: Notes on a Scandal
Year: 2007
Nominations: Best Actress - Judi Dench, Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score
Wins/Snubs: This was the year of The Queen and Dreamgirls so both ladies went home empty handed.  The Departed took Adapted Screenplay, and Babel took Original Score.  I have no problems with any of those.  



I had started this movie before, but just couldn't get through it.  So I gave it another try to see what the fuss was about that got Judi and Cate nominations.  And I still don't get it.  This is a particularly hard movie to watch - mostly because Ms. Dench is really creepy.  She plays a fairly unattractive spinster (her word) history teacher who keeps a diary, which becomes the constant narration of the film, one of its first flaws.  She befriends the new art teacher (Blanchett), but it's always a little creepy, she looks like she wants to yell at everyone all the time.  To get to the "scandal", Blanchett has an affair with one of her students, only 15 years old.  Dench catches them one night, and confronts Blanchett.  But since she's creepy and devious, she agrees not to tell on them, as long as Blanchett stops the affair.  Her goal is to cement their friendship more with a secret.  I'm sure you can see how poorly this is going to end - Blanchett is married to Bill Nighy and they have 2 kids, so that's going to be ruined.  Dench is also obviously gay, but doesn't actually know how to express her love, nor how to find it from appropriate places.


I really disliked this movie.  I liked Cate for the first third of the film, but after that all you can see is how creepy it is that she's obsessed with his kid.  And I had no problem with Kate Winslet sleeping with a kid in The Reader, so it can be done without being only creepy, but Blanchett is not Winslet.  And I hated Dench for every moment of the film.  She's mean, aggressive, insidious and the creepy factor never goes away.  I'm sure they were both nominated because it was a big film that year with two huge female leads, but it's a very hard movie to watch.  This is not a movie that generally appeals to me, but I have trouble seeing why anyone would particularly enjoy it.  I guess that ability to portray a character that makes the viewer particularly uncomfortable is notable acting, but I still didn't like it.

5 comments:

Ilsa Berg said...

This is an amazing book and more palatable as a book than as a movie.

Jess said...

I can totally see this as a book I'd like. It was actually watching a particularly unattractive Judi Dench try to hit on Cate Blanchett wasn't fun.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

When you say Cate is no Cate do you mean Kate is a better actor? Just curious.

I like this film, it's awkward it's uncomfortable but it's excellently acted and I think Cate is particularly brilliant in it (she's so unhinged, I adore her as a performer but the way in which Sheba just sort of pours out of her is something to watch).

Rheyan Cacho Lugtu said...

The mere fact that Dame Judi Dench creeps you out then she is doing her role right, isn't it. she's affecting the viewers' perception..just like you said, "She's mean, aggressive, insidious and the creepy factor never goes away." That's the character and she embodied it throughout.

If you find fault in it then you we might say there is flaw to the book.

Same goes for Ms. Blanchett.

I certainly agree with you, if it wasn't for the DREAMGIRLS and THE QUEEN they could have one.

Rheyan Cacho Lugtu said...

The mere fact that Dame Judi Dench creeps you out then she is doing her role right, isn't it. she's affecting the viewers' perception..just like you said, "She's mean, aggressive, insidious and the creepy factor never goes away." That's the character and she embodied it throughout.

If you find fault in it then you we might say there is flaw to the book.

Same goes for Ms. Blanchett.

I certainly agree with you, if it wasn't for the DREAMGIRLS and THE QUEEN they could have one.