Drama about a teacher in a frustrated marriage (Cate Blanchett) who begins an affair with a 15-year-old student, and the bitter old spinster (Judi Dench) who develops an unhealthy crush on her. It’s all told in the voice of Dench’s journal entries, which provide a cynical counterpoint to the slightly pathetic front she puts on. But whoever wrote this thing (Patrick Marber, based on a novel by Zoe Heller) takes Dench’s character much too far into the schlocky B-movie territory of Fatal Attraction or any number of insane-babysitter movies. We’re left with a very well-acted popcorn flick, ripped, I’m sure, from some headline or other. Opens December 27.

Notes on a Scandal. Richard Eyre, 2006. **

[tags]2 stars, film, drama, england, judi dench, cate blanchett, bill nighy, teachers, kids, affairs, obsession, richard eyre, zoe heller[/tags]