Critic Reviews

73

Metascore

Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
A wicked delight. Adapted by playwright Patrick Marber from Zoe Heller's acclaimed novel, it's at once a comedy of cluelessness and class, a melodrama of two women in the grips of wildly inappropriate obsessions, and a "Fatal Attraction"-style thriller.
90
Variety
The riveting interplay between Dench and Cate Blanchett draws blood with every scene, thanks to a precision-honed script and Eyre's equally incisive direction.
90
Anyone who loves live-wire acting will gasp in awe at Blanchett, more emotionally exposed than ever, and, most of all, at Dame Judi, who’s so electric she makes you quiver.
88
As the relationship between the two British schoolteachers begins (quietly), builds (deceptively) and dissolves (spectacularly), Dench and Blanchett give a master class in acting. Pick your own sports metaphor, but watching them go at each other is the match of the year.
75
Rolling Stone
If you want to see explosive acting, just watch Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett ignite in this film version of Zoe Heller's 2003 novel.
63
Premiere
If the resultant wreckage is a little underwhelming, and the film's coda useless and trite, the getting there is pretty absorbing.
63
The most important part of any thriller - even one as upper crust as this - is the resolution, and that's where Notes on a Scandal falls on its face. The ending itself isn't bad but the single act leading to it is unforgivable.
60
Eyre does a fine job overseeing performances by a terrific cast that rings true until female hysteria takes over the final act. But in tone and theme, the film has all the hallmarks of playwright-screenwriter Marber's stark, uncompromising misanthropy, if not misogyny.
60
Director Richard Eyre and screenwriter Patrick Marber keep forcing us past disbelief and into the perverse pleasures of nastiness. If nothing else, their film is the perfect antidote to all those warm, forgiving schoolboy dramas we've endured through the years. This corn is not green; it is rotten down to the last kernel.
60
The actors in Notes on a Scandal are equally distinguished: Ms. Dench and Ms. Blanchett are among the finest on the market today, and each can deliver expert performances, even when, as is the case here, their roles are false and hollow. The performers sell the goods, but the goods are cheap.

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