Thursday, August 20, 2009

Notes on a Scandal (2006)- R

There are certain very disturbing sexual passions. Some people gain pleasure from erotic fantasies centered on such passions. When acted upon, there are those fantasies that are criminal offenses and can destroy everyone they touch. Most certainly, the actions destroy their owner.

Sheba Hart, played by Cate Blanchett, is destroyed by her sexual passions. Sheba is an attractive wife, mother and high school teacher. She has been conscientious about her cared-for two stepchildren, one of whom has Downs’ Syndrome. Her sexual compulsion is that she cannot break free from a sexual affair with one of her 15 year old students. This is a different story than the one told in movies such as Private Lessons (1981), where an older woman mentors the sexual instructions of a delighted teenager. It is also different than the one told in The Reader (2008), where a young boy’s deep love for an older woman turns tragic when her earlier war crimes are revealed. Rather, Notes on a Scandal is a painful story of an adult needing the erotic attention of a young adolescent. Her need borders on addiction where self-affirmation depends on the sexual attentions from this student. This is probably the essential element of exploitation.

This is a very good film with exceptional acting from Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. The film is important because it explores the complexity of this painful sexual topic.

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