Notes on a Scandal (Fox Searchlight, 12.27) is a sort of upscale, British-flavored Fatal Attraction minus the grand guignol… with a strong dose of sad-wicked lesbo suppression driving the engine. Skillfully adapted by playwright Patrick Marber (“Closer”) from a Zoe Heller novel called “What Was She Thinking?,” it’s easily one of the best written, best-acted potboilers of this type that I’ve ever seen — particularly when it comes to Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett‘s performance as a pair of schoolteachers caught up in each other’s obsessions and vulnerabilities in a manner that goes way beyond intense.
Richard Eyre’s direction, Philip Glass‘s pulsating score (a perfect compliment to Dench’s obsessive emotional condition), the sense of restraint in Bill Nighy‘s performance as Blanchett’s much-older husband, and also in 17 year-old Andrew Simpson‘s as Blanchett’s teenaged lover. I worship the precisely-honed dialogue and particularly Dench’s voiceover narration (“she and I share an understanding of the quotidian awfulness of things”). I could easily see it another couple of times, just to savor the fusing of all the elements.
Anyway, I recorded some interview comments spoken by Blanchett, Nighy and Marber the other day, and have posted them in this order….