Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.When this film was introduced before it was shown on BBC1 the announcer advised that there would be “scenes of a sexual nature” and ” very strong language “.
You might think that was a warning for the delicate of souls not working but still awake on a midnight Sunday morning. Me I’d argue that it was a come on for the unwary. “Scenes of a sexual nature” suggests that people are going to their clothes off.Well unless you count the odd jumper it doesn’t happen. Similarly there is “very strong language” in this film. But the impression that it’s constant is not the case.
I’d bet there were some people (is young men) very disappointed at it’s end.
Judi Dench plays a history teacher in a large London comprehensive. We know it’s London as the first scene is of her staring at the city from a park bench.Mind you it’s only just recognisable give the smog.
She doesn’t like the school children. She likes her fellow teachers even less.Calling one in her diary (the “notes” of the title) a “pig in knickers “. She’s lonely barring her cat.
And she has a secret.
Not once did I look at this film and think I was watching Judi Dench. She really became that role. That’s acting folks.
Cate Blanchett is the new Art teacher. She’s everything the Judi Dench character isn’t. Young,pretty,kind and married with children.
And she has a secret.
(Let’s stop there for a moment. Perhaps it’s because it’s a film and the original novel – which I haven’t read – is different but the timescale for Cate Blanchett’s secret seemed unbelievably quick. Plot wise the only part of the film I’d quibble about)
Cate Blanchett is an interesting choice for this role. Beautiful but not glamorously she seems (just) suited for the role.
They develop an unlikely friendship. But it’s clear the Dench character wants more than just friendship. She practically clings to Blanchett like a limped mine. But the real key to the film is what happens once Dench becomes aware of Blanchett’s secret.
I loved this movie. It’s true uniqueness is watching a pair who are both ordinary, flawed and let’s face it dislikeable being the important characters a movie facing a situation which anything like as dull as their lives were beforehand. I think this is largely due to Judi Dench. You wonder whether any other actress could have carried this role off even remotely as well as she did.
True greatness folks.
Until the next time.