Directed: Richard Eyre
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Philip Davis, Michael Maloney, Juno Temple, Max Lewis, Julia McKenzie
Cate Blanchett is an art teacher that starts an affair with a student. Judi Dench is an older teacher at the same school that starts a friendship with her, and enjoys the power she has over her about her secret.
Oh, Judi Dench is evil! The movie is really a character-study on her character and what makes her tick. She is a woman that loves other women, but doesn’t fully confess that to herself. She grew up in an era where that was not acceptable, and even though in modern times, others wouldn’t bat an eye, she is still living as if she was in the time where it wouldn’t be looked upon kindly. On top of that, she is a very obsessive personality. She doesn’t just befriend women, but wants to consume them to an almost stalkerish quality. She doesn’t stalk in the traditional sense, but uses whatever power she has over women to make them be available at her beck and call. Judi Dench does a fabulous job making you despise and feel sorry for this woman at the same time.
Cate Blanchett is also impressive, but she is one of my favorite actresses so that doesn’t surprise me. She is so flighty as the art teacher who married her former college professor who is much older than her, and then to escape her family obligations (she has a son with Down’s syndrome), she turns to a younger student on her own. She doesn’t even seduce him so much as he does it to her, but that isn’t an excuse for what she did. She just made very poor judgment calls and finds herself in a situation outside of her control.
The movie is very compelling, especially since I watched it in parts on TiVo. I would watch it here and there on my own and could have easily lost its momentum for how many times I stopped it, but it never did. It was really good.