Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Film Review: "Notes on a Scandal"

Judy Dench AND Cate Blanchett...what an irresitable combination...merely two of the finest actresses working in the English language today, teamed in a smart, well made uptown ultimate 'chick flick'! (Don't believe the tripe about Cate Blanchett being a 'Supporting Actor'. She stars with the magnitude of Dench.) Go see it.

Why is it an 'ultimate' chick-flick? It's about two old(er) women moving down (way down) in age as they reach for love affairs: Cate Blanchett, as a young-to-middle-aged teacher having a torrid sex-affair with her 15 year old student, and Judy Dench as a fellow teacher, a yearning, psychologically obsessed older woman using the guise of friendship to fulfill her lesbian desires for Ms. Blanchett...or on any younger woman, as we find out at the end!

The stuff of soaps? Here, no. The film and its premise are in the hands of tasteful filmmakers (director Richard Eyre and adapting-screenwriter Patricia Marber). It is tasteful, erotic without being cheap; and ,while a bit melodramatic in the second half--that excess is only marginally disappointing in contrast with itself, because the first half is so fine, so exquisitely easy, wise and understated.

Ah, the English. If any of you readers haven't guessed it by now, I am an Anglophobe--England, to me, is the greatest civilizing nation of the past 500 years. And in shows in their treatment of film themes today that might be melodramatic is lesser (the rest of the world's) hands.

See the film. Stiff-upper-lips-facing-passion turns me on, what can I say.


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