Notes on a Scandal

That Judi Dench ("Shakespeare in Love") is quite a Dame!

In this one she plays a not-very-thinly disguised lesbian who develops a crush on a new art teacher at their school. The teacher, played by (Australian!) Cate Blanchett ("Bandits"
and "Elizabeth"), appears to be a free spirit, which lends itself to immediate misunderstandings on the part of rest of the faculty, as they interpret her behavior as "flirty" or "too informal."

Blanchett is married to an older man, played by Bill Nighy ("Blow Dry" and "Love, Actually"). They have two children, a daughter, suffering in the throes of her first pangs of her teen years, and a son, who has Downs Syndrome. She and her husband are loving and involved parents, although their relationship is deliberately misread by Dench who of course, hopes it is miserable and doomed.

Dench's character observes Blanchett's character having some strictly illegal sex with one of her 15-year-old art students (shades of Mary Jo Loterno, huh? sp?), whereupon the elder teacher doesn't hesitate to blackmail the younger one.

Wonderful, fearless performances on everyone's part! This is the least "twitchy" performance I have ever seen from Nighy, although he is getting raves on Broadway right now (January, 2007).