Notes On A Scandal (2006)

Cate Blanchett as: Sheba Hart
Directed by: Richard Eyre
Selected Cast: Judi Dench, Andrew Simpson, Bill Nighy & Juno Temple
Written by: Patrick Marber & Zoe Heller
Release Year: 2006
Genre: Drama / Thriller
MPAA Rating: R

The bitter, cynical and lonely Barbara Covett is a tough and conservative teacher near to retirement that is loathed by her colleagues and students. In the loneliness of her apartment, she spends her spare time writing her journal, taking care of her old cat Portia and missing her special friend Jennifer Dodd. When Sheba Hart joins the high-school as the new art teacher, Barbara dedicates her attention to the newcomer, writing sharp and unpleasant comments about her behavior and clothes. When Barbara helps Sheba in a difficult situation with two students, the grateful Sheba invites her to have lunch with her family. Sheba introduces her husband and former professor Richard Hart, who is about twenty years older than she; her rebellious teenager daughter Polly; and her son Ben that has Down’s Syndrome. Barbara becomes close to Sheba, but when she accidentally discovers that Sheba is having an affair with the fifteen year-old student Steven Connolly…

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Quotes from Cate Blanchett

• Coming soon!

Quotes from Others

Judi Dench
“My reason for doing Notes on a Scandal was Cate. My admiration for her is just unbounded. I think she’s really phenomenal.”

“When we came to work, I realized of course that Cate has a fierce intelligence, an unbelievable integrity. Her powers of concentration are phenomenal. Above all, she has a great sense of humour which I think is the most important thing to have and she is a phenomenal family person. The fact that she is working on something with an incredible intensity and at the same time can completely switch off and become a member of an incredibly close family with her children and her husband. When I saw her playing Elizabeth, it was one of those rare moments that I forgot I was watching an actress and I believed I was watching a real person who had actually lived and existed in history. I think Cate is the most extraordinary actress and I’m thrilled we did this movie together.”

Quotes from her Character

• Sheba Hart: “What you say about me, about Richard – you’re not fit to shine his shoes. And Ben, and Polly, that I’d be happier without them. Why did you do it? Because I didn’t help you collect your cat? You’ve cost me my family!”
Barbara Covett: “No, no, take some responsibility! I gave you EXACTLY what you wanted! You’d still be stuck in that marriage without me.”
Sheba Hart: “What?”
Barbara Covett: “You can’t accept it yet, but…”
Sheba Hart: “You think I wanted to be here with you?”
Barbara Covett: “You need me, I’m your friend!”
Sheba Hart: “You put me in prison, I could get TWO years!”
Barbara Covett: “They’ll fly by! I’ll visit you every week! We’ve so much life to live together!”
Sheba Hart: “You think this is a love affair? A relationship? What, sticky gold stars, and – and a strand of my hair? A sticker from Pizza Express? It’s a flat in the Archway Road and you think you’re Virginia frigging Woolf! And where did you get my hair? Did you pluck it from the bath with some special fucking tweezers?”
Barbara Covett: “You know it’s rude to read a person’s diary, it’s private!”
Sheba Hart: “We’re not companions! We’re not friends! You don’t even like me!”
Barbara Covett: “That’s not true, I only have tender feelings for you, only love!”
Sheba Hart: “You’re barking, fucking mad. You don’t know how to love. You have never, your whole life. Me, Jennifer Dodd. You’re nothing but waste and disappointment! You bitter old virgin. You’re lonely for a reason. They loathed you at school, all of them. I was the idiot who bothered, but only because no one told me you’re a fucking vampire! So what is it, Bar? You want to roll around the floor like lovers? You want to fuck me, Barbara?”
Barbara Covett: “Please don’t diminish our…”
Sheba Hart: “Our WHAT? What?”
Barbara Covett: “Give it back. I know you! Selfish and vain, you think you have a divine right! You don’t belong in the world, you belong here! You big baby!”

• Steven Connolly: “Do you want to do it again?”
Sheba Hart: “Yes… I wanna do it again.

• Steven Connolly: “What’re you having for tea, Miss?”
Sheba Hart: “I don’t know, I’ll probably buy something on the way home.”
Steven Connolly: “Are you a good cook?”
Sheba Hart: “Not really.”
Steven Connolly: “You suck?”
Sheba Hart: ” Go home, Steven.”

• Barbara Covett: “Well, that’s when you should’ve stopped it.”
Sheba Hart: “I did! I told him I wouldn’t teach him any more. But he refused to accept it, he just kept coming back. It began to feel like our secret, and well, secrets can be… seductive.”

• Sheba Hart: “I hadn’t been pursued like this for years… I knew it was wrong, and immoral, and completely ridiculous, but, I don’t know. I just allowed it to happen.”
Barbara Covett: “The boy is fifteen!”
Sheba Hart: “But he’s quite mature for his age!”

• Sheba Hart: “This is going to sound sick, but something in me felt… entitled. You know, I’ve been good all my adult life. I’ve been a decent wife, a dutiful mother coping with Ben. This voice inside me kept saying “why shouldn’t you be bad, why shouldn’t you transgress? I mean, you’ve earned the right.”

• Sheba Hart: “It’s incredibly important we keep this secret. Does anyone know you’re here?”
Steven Connolly: “No. Miss. I’m no genius, but I ain’t a dickhead. I won’t tell no one. You can trust me.”
Sheba Hart: “We’d both get into terrible trouble.”

• Steven Connolly: “Can I smoke, Miss?”
Sheba Hart: “You can do what you want, but enough of this ‘Miss’.”
Steven Connolly: “Were you a model once? Well you should’ve been. You’re well fit.”
Sheba Hart: “Gosh but don’t I know it.”
Steven Connolly: “You’re into The Streets?”
Sheba Hart: “Mmm, no, my daughter is.”
Steven Connolly: “She the same age as me?”
Sheba Hart: “None of your beeswax.”
Steven Connolly: “Well, anyway, the point is – you’re fit.”
Sheba Hart: “So are you.”
Steven Connolly: “You reckon? My sister thinks I look like a bollock with measles.”
Sheba Hart: “You’ve done my brain in.”

• Barbara Covett: “The day we met… it had already begun?”
Sheba Hart: “Yes.”
Barbara Covett: “Had you had any further relations that day?”
Sheba Hart: “We went to the art room.”
Barbara Covett: “Well I’m glad I was such an aphrodisiac. I was trying to help you.”

• Sheba Hart: “So that’s your vicious father?”
Steven Connolly: “You wanted a sob story, I gave it to you. Made you feel like Bob Geldof.”
Sheba Hart: “You lied to me!”
Steven Connolly: “Ooooh, sorry, Miss! What, would you prefer it if I lived in a shithole?”
Sheba Hart: “And your mother?”
Steven Connolly: “I think she’s gonna pull through. What do you want? What’re you doin’ here?”

• Steven Connolly: “They’re going to expel me now!”
Sheba Hart: “No, they won’t. I’ll get the blame if she tells.”
Steven Connolly: “As if she won’t!”
Sheba Hart: “She – likes me, she might not.”
Steven Connolly: “She likes you, huh? Like that? You givin’ her one and all?”
Sheba Hart: “Why are you being so cruel? Why, Steven?”
Steven Connolly: “I really like you. You’re a nice person, and you’ve been cool, and it’s been great, okay? But it’s supposed to be fun. Now it’s a serious thing. Whatever shit you’re working out, you know, with your husband, your kid, you – I don’t know. I can’t help you.”

• Sheba Hart: “When you started teaching, didn’t you want to give them a real education to help overcome… the poverty of their backgrounds?
Barbara Covett: “Oh yes, of course. Bu one soon learns that teaching is crowd control. We’re a branch of the social services.
Sue Hodge: Console yourself with the gems. That’s when it’s satisfying. Then you can make a real difference.
Barbara Covett: “The rest is just cattle-prod and pray.

• Barbara Covett: “When I was at school, if one of us had had some bad news or was a bit down, we used to stroke each other. You know, someone would do one arm and someone else the other. It was a wonderful sensation. Did you do that at your school?”
Sheba Hart: “No.”
Barbara Covett: “It’s incredibly relaxing – for the giver and the receiver. Close your eyes. It doesn’t work if you don’t. That’s a good girl.”
Sheba Hart: “I think that’s enough.”
Barbara Covett: “No, close your eyes.”
Sheba Hart: “I really think that’s enough, Barbara.”

• Richard Hart: “You’re his teacher!”
Sheba Hart: “And you were mine! I’m not justifying. I’m not trying to justify it…”
Richard Hart: “You are so full of shit! It’s totally different. You were twenty!”
Sheba Hart: “He’s sixteen in May. He’s not some innocent…”
Richard Hart: “Of course he’s innocent! He’s fucking fifteen! Are you insane? If you meant to destroy us, why not do it with an adult? That’s the convention, it’s worked for centuries!”

• Sheba Hart: “Give me a minute, will you? I can handle this.”
Barbara Covett: “Oh, I’m to be “handled”, am I? Like toxic waste. You see me on sufference. I’m an imposition to be tolerated.”

• Sheba Hart: “We never invited you to the fucking Dordogne!”
Barbara Covett: “I’m sorry, but you specifically said if I happened to be in France I should drop in.”
Sheba Hart: “We didn’t mean it!”
Barbara Covett: “Well, fine. I won’t come then.”

• Sheba Hart: “My father always used to say… you know, on the tube…’Mind the gap’.”
Barbara Covett: “Oh um…”
Sheba Hart: “I don’t know… it’s just the distance between life as you… dream it, and… life as it is.”
Barbara Covett: “I know exactly what you mean.”

Trivia & Facts

• Filmed in England, UK (view all.)

• Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 35 nominations (view all.)

• Cate starred in the movie The Shipping News (2001) with Judi Dench as well.

• Cate also starred in the movie Hot Fuzz (2007) with Bill Nighy.

• “Notes on a Scandal” was actually only the subtitle of the novel on which this film is based. The main title is “What Was She Thinking?”

• Nicholas Hoult went through several auditions for the role that Andrew Simpson eventually played.

• In Mexico, some press and merchandising material claimed this movie to be “A film by Bill Nighy”, whereas Bill Nighy is an actor in this movie.

• When Sheba is rampaging through Barbara’s house in search of her journal, you can see a crew member in the mirror behind her as she goes to sit.