Movie: Notes on a Scandal
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.
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