Saturday, June 16, 2007

Notes On A Scandal

Hot For Teacher used to be just a decent song and a way-cool video by Van Halen. In the last few years, though, the phrase has taken on a more sinister meaning. And it's not only Johnny that's hot for teacher; a whole gaggle of professional educators are pulling a Debbie LaFave these days.

I can appreciate the MILF movement as much as the next guy. Particularly as I ...get...older. But c'mon: what happened in our society that permitted the schoolboy crush to be reciprocated? I'm sure Ms. Suiter knew I had a thing for her in 6th grade. She had to; my goofiness when I was near her would have made that pretty clear. If she had reciprocated, though, I would have had a meltdown.

Emotional maturity. The large divide that once existed between adults and children seems to be narrowing.

Notes On A Scandal is a terrific film that highlights this evolution of our emotional maturity. Sheba Hart, played wonderfully by Cate Blanchette, is a teacher who begins an affair with a 15 year old male student. A colleague--an older, prim and proper teacher, played by Judi Dench--discovers the tryst and uses the information to further her own needy agenda. The result is a creepy, intense insight into selfishness, insecurity, lies and loneliness. And the pain that each can cause.

The acting in Notes is top shelf, and it's a more complicated story than you might imagine. A plot that makes the teacher who does a student one of the most sympathetic characters of a story is pretty complex.


JDB said...

Saw this a week or so ago - you're right about the acting, but I found the story itself a bit hard to buy into. It's not sure whose story it is, Cate's or Judi's, that kind of leaves you not caring in the end. Or at least left me not caring in the end.

Jelly-Filled said...

Yeah, I had a hard time buying the storyline myself. I think part of it was that Cate's character had a good life, and even if I could have imagined her cheating with a student, I couldn't imagine her cheating with that particular very young and immature-looking student. I'm with JDB; it was hard to care about either of the main characters. But then, I do have a habit of throwing up my hands during TV shows and movies and yelling at the characters, "Well, if you're going to be THAT stupid, you deserve whatever you get!" The acting, though, as you say, was great.

eclectic guy said...

Can't see the failure to buy the storyline. People deceive each other all the time, placing trust in people who have hidden agendas. We, who play God essentially, sit at arm's length, watch the passion play as it unfolds froma distance. So easy to armchair quarterback everything.

I found the whole movie flawless and of course, we all agree the acting is brilliant.