Notes on a Scandal is the story of Sheba, a teacher at a high school in London who has an affair with one of her students. Both the movie and the book are told through the perspective of an older, single, bitter teacher at the same school who befriends the pretty, 30-something Sheba and manipulates her into becoming her friend and confidante. The older teacher is played masterfully by Judi Dench, and Sheba by Cate Blanchett, both of whom have been nominated for Oscars. It’s a good movie – well-edited, suspenseful, and expertly written. There was nothing in the movie that was inconsistent with my memory of the book, and I felt that the adaptation worked hard to maintain the tone of an emotional thriller – like the book – as opposed to simply telling a salacious tale. I do think that if you’ve read the book beforehand, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage because you know in advance how much to trust the narrator and what her motives are, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the movie. Note: The adapted screenplay for Notes on a Scandal has been nominated for an Oscar. Advantage: Tie. Both are worth it.
It’s fun when I come across people blogging on the same wavelength as me, and I agree with what Gayle said completely. I’m rooting for this script to win Best Adaptation at the Oscars, because it is true to the book. That’s not to say that Children of Men is not a good movie–it is–but it’s not a perfect adaptation because it deviates in vital ways from PD James’s book, and not out of translation necessity (as in my example from earlier about the adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada).
I’m so glad that I finished all my reading for work. The last book was quite an interesting read, a published book that reminded me of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex. If you can guess the book I’ll think you’re a genius.
It’s 9 pm, and I’m going to do the NY Times Crossword puzzle while vegging out to TV. I might throw on Marie Antoinette or Sherrybaby, but I’m not sure my brain can handle anymore narrative tonight–at least until I read a few pages of Tale of Two Cities before going to bed.