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Comments

Patrick

I could not agree more. It was not the best. But it was a hoot to watch. I think Judi Dench can do these kinds of roles in her sleep.

Angela

I want to see this movie, but I live in a place that sucks for fans of real movies. Anyway I find the controversy surrounding Dakota Fannings new movie interesting in comparison to the lack of controversy surrounding this movie. Really they both depict underage actors playing underage characters who are being raped. (in many states 15 year olds can't consent)
Is Notes ok b/c it's a teenage boy having "consensual" sex with an older woman vs. a young girl who is raped?
A lot of people have been saying that Dakota's movie would be ok if an older actress had been hired to play 12. It seems to me though that people are not so concerned with Dakota's well being (that she shouldn't be put through being a rape victim) but that it's more comfortable for the audience to know that the actress on screen is older. So what is going on is "ok".
Perhaps it taps into the fact that little girls are overly sexualized. The older girl acting young bit is the reason internet porn is king. The kiddy porn without the prison time. But with an actual 12/13 year old playing a 12 year old who is raped it rips the illusion apart. It makes the audience wrestle with the fact that prepubescents are not supposed to be sexual, she can't have consented, she can't have given some kind of mixed signal. (Yes I know that no means no and that the mixed signal thing is crap but people still think it b/c people want there to be a reason that someone was raped other then the fact that the rapist was a sicko freak. It's too hard for some people to accept that people like that exist either that or they are idiots.) So therefore the 18 year old who's shaved and dolled up to look prepubescent shouldn't be sexual either. That it wasn't ok that 35 year old men were lusting after Britney when she was 16. Which contradicts much of what we are sold. I think that is what makes people uncomfortable with Dakota's movie.
Or it could be the old misconception that teenage boys are horn dogs and should be congratulated for getting some (even if it is statutory rape). It would be interesting to see the reaction if Notes had been a teenage boy having an affair with a man.
Ok now I've rambled and made things all serious.

Leila

Rich, you have accomplished what I thought to be the unaccomplishable: making me want to see "Notes on a Scandal". I hated hated HATED the book, but now the movie does sound a little bit fun.

brad

seriously.. this WAS my favortie movie of the year. patrick marber (closer) is a GENIUS with words. he's a master.. and the movie does descend into mad camp.. which is sheer brilliance. i'm surprised it's not doing better. i've seen it 3 times and everyone i've taken to it loves it. seriously, to bits. nice job in bringing attention to it. the boy is very well cast as well. in the wrong hands.. cate's character would have seemed just trashy. now.. you kinda see why she did it.

Ian

I really enjoyed the movie too... though to slightly paraphrase Judi Dench could read the Yellow Pages and I'd love it.

And in response to the above comment, there are big differences between a 12 and 15 year old, and rape and consensual sex. In Notes it's still very illegal, but the 15 year old is the one who 'kicks the tyres' so to speak. This doesn't mean that Cate's character is beyond reproach, but it's a vastly different scenario from Hounddog.

Rich

Definitely -- it's a tough issue, the whole age-of-consent thing. Just because a sexually mature, but still quite young boy wants to have sex with someone over twice his age, doesn't necessarily mean it's right for someone to entertain his whim. Regardless, it's stupid because it's so legally risky. Still, I'm really wary of the social construct of childhood and the fanatical lengths we go to to protect it.

Stormy70

Well, we know which movie will be a huge hit in the pedophile circles. Child rape happens, but using a 12 year old girl in a nude body stocking with the older actor grinding on her is not appropriate. I love all manner of movies, but some of these movies are only using these "taboos" to hype up a sub par movie making effort. It is ironic that the Dakota movie is getting reviewed as a piece of hackneyed crap, but the rape scene is filmed tastefully. Movies are getting more and more boring, so they rely on these little tricks to gin up controversy.
Older adults preying on emotionally exploitable children is as old as time, but does not mean it should be condoned. At least we phased out child brothels in the 19th century, as sex between children and adults is destructive and harmful to the innocent.
I don't consider childhood a social construct, but a check on the deviant behavior towards children that dates back to the beginnings of civilization. I prefer them to be protected, and if it makes me a "prude", so be it.

Andrew

Rich, what did you think of Pan's Labyrinth? As I was watching it, it struck me that as a Spirited Away and horror film fan, you might really like it.

Ian

Also, it's worth pointing out that no one has seen the Hounddog scene in question yet... reports suggest that it's almost entirely off-camera.

AntBee

I love that you've posted screen caps with all three actors' mouths wide open. It allows me to use my new catchphrase. "In the movie, Notes On A Scandal, the 'gaping maw' technique is quite well done by the lead actors in the film.
I will be seeing this movie, thanks for the review!

Tremayne

Oh, don't lie... You just love that Beyonce was snubbed...

Ando

Little Children was the best movie of '06. It wasn't a great year for movies, but I really think this would stick out in any other year. No violence or horror, but I watched about half of it peeking through my hands.

I actually just saw Notes last night. It's fun trash. I liked it and Dame Judi werked it, but it wasn't a GOOD movie. She did scare the crap out of me though. My girlfriends thought the same about the 15 year old, but I have to disagree. He's a little harsh on the eyes. He looked like the kid that doesn't play nice with his toys in Toy Story. Seriously. EXACTLY like him. How funny was it when Dame Judi catches her again and Cate's wearing the 'real fake gold' necklace he gave her? HA!

Augusto (Queer Beacon)

I thought the movie was perfect. Judi delivers like Domino's! A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

e.i

That movie sounds sort of like the episodes of Dawson's Creek with Pacey's affair with the teacher.

I've never liked Kate Blanchett for some reason. I don't think everything she does should be Oscar-nominated.

david

You said exactly what I have been telling my friends for the last couple of weeks. It's essentially an updated "woman's picture". The melodrama is so far over the top,some of the lines are so great and Judi Dench's delivery is brilliant. Everyone has been complaining about Philip Glass' score but I think it perfectly complements the melodrama and the hysteria surrounding the acting and action. Well done

Wilson

I totally got a kick out of Judi Dench saying "fuckfest" -- That was worth the price of admission ALONE.

Michael

No fun.

AiryFairie

Is that top picture Kahlen from ANTM???

AiryFairie

Is that top picture Kahlen from ANTM???

Blanchette has been nominated only three times for an Oscar which is far from "everything she does".

nidra

Older adults preying on emotionally exploitable children is as old as time, but does not mean it should be condoned. At least we phased out child brothels in the 19th century, as sex between children and adults is destructive and harmful to the innocent.

Dude, seriously, are you for real? First of all, this comment isn't even a little bit funny, which should in and of itself be a crime on Rich's site. Secondly, portraying something onscreen does not mean that it is being condoned. Please. How many movies portray crimes of one sort or another? Only probably most of them. Making or watching such movies doesn't not imply approval of crime on anyone's part. I certainly wouldn't be down with anyone trying to chop their family into little bits with an axe, and yet I've seen The Shining about 700 times. What sort of deviant must I be? (You don't have to answer that question. Nor does anyone have to point out how much I am probably dating myself for chosing that movie as an example.)

Secondly -- come on, admit it. Exploitation or not, that 15-year-old is HOT. You totally want him. Don't worry. We all understand.

nidra

You know, I think I said "secondly" twice. Now THAT is embarrassing, and I don't condone such things AT ALL.

Kitten

When I saw that top photo of Cate, I totally thought this was a post about the Courtney Love comeback.

erica

hey rich! i wanted to see this movie, but now that i read your "review", i'm totally going to see this movie IMMEDIATELY!

Daniel

This movie is so fucking brilliant, and Rich hit it on the head. Before this review, I was thinking it was more of a solemn character study. Once I saw it, I just dove into the camp.

Rich, I'm surprised you didn't break down the music for this one. This film is a perfect example of how dramatically a score can influence the way we view a film. Glass's music was so over-the-top with the DUM-DUM-DUM punctuation and blasted out with such totally inappropriate crescendos, I thought I'd pass out from the flames! Had the music gone in a more sober or subtle direction, I could easily see the overall tone of the film being WAY different. I think I liked it better this way.

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