Sunday, December 10, 2006

++ Good (++Bad?) Notes on a Scandal

I am of two minds when it comes to Notes on a Scandal and you'll be hearing from both of them. This doubling is not some writers conceit but an appropriate response to a movie that is itself a double act. The poster (previously discussed here) is no lie, suggesting a near fusion of two faces into one, albeit a cubist style face, both angles represented at once. Notes is a double portrait of two surprisingly unlikeable women. They share a profession, a secret, and an awkward power struggle friendship.

Read the rest... for more thoughts on great work from Judi Dench, the movies sickening aftertaste, vampiric subtext, and the director's love of actress battles.


Anonymous said...

Great review! Or reviews!
Thanks a lot!

Poli said...

Well, now I want to see this movie, dammit.

Although I might get uppity about the gay subject matter, since (from Nat's review) it sounds like they make her evil because she's a lesbian (or they don't forgive her for her faults, as it were). God knows I don't need to get on a rant about subtle or unsubtle homophobia. My sister won't even discuss The Man with me anymore.

adam k. said...

So is Judi truly in the running for a FB nomination? Seems like she's due for one. If she can get a finalist spot for Mrs. Henderson Presents, she should be able to get a nom for this, no?

Could she possibly win the oscar?

She's been due for a lead oscar for years. If this is really seen as her best perf in a while, then maybe she could start actually winning things?

It is odd that Mirren has developed this "lock" status when there are SO many deserving and "due" candidates this year. How did that happen? I don't get it.

adam k. said...

Oh wait, I know, it's cause she's the only one playing a real person. Meh.

Glenn Dunks said...

But there have been so many good female performances this year, so who knows.

I totally get what you mean about Fatal Attraction "He had an affair and cheated on his wife, but because he's not a murderous psychopath he's a-okay!"

Sounds really intriguing. Damn you!

Javier Aldabalde said...

Amazing review. And, God, this looks like so much fun. I hope Judi beats Mirren at the Oscars!!

Anonymous said...


I mean... drool!

Thanks for the Dench love, and I'm utterly envious that you saw it before me! ;o)


Anonymous said...

There's an important thing to note here, and I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to reveal it here. (But be warned, people, for those of you who don't want to know anything.) Dench's character does not think of herself as a lesbian...she's so deeply closeted and antique in her affections that she doesn't recognize herself as homosexual in any modern sense of the word.

She is undoubtedly attracted to women -- her sister, bless her heart, lets us know that. But her failings as a person shows us more about the damaging effects of being closeted. I maintain that the movie is not homophobic in the way that, say, BASIC INSTINCT is so blatantly. Sure's she a lesbian. Sure's she a monster. But the reason for it is the psychological damage of not being able to deal with her own desires...and that's something every healthy gay person would like exposed.


and ModFab on that point I totally agree. BUT the movie doesn't make this connection (other than the mirror scene) or doesn't make it convincingly.

the problem is the ending. SPOILERS. It damns her while forgiving others. Felt very Fatal Attraction to me. Any sympathy you're feeling for the woman is abruptly brushed off as inappropriate given the way things are wrapped up.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear Dench is amazing! I am so pumped to see this just for her. Blanchett is ok, but I'm so overtly tired of her lately. Perhaps it's the rabbit fans calling her the best thing since sliced bread? Which she isn't.

But go Dench! Get that Oscar nom!