Joanna Langfield reviews “Notes On A Scandal”

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It’s almost astonishing two men (director Richard Eyre and screenwriter Patrick Marber) could translate Zoe Heller’s titillating novel, What Was She Thinking: Notes on a Scandal, into such a wise film portrait about women.

It is exciting enough to watch two of our finest actresses, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett take each other on; to see them battle for their characters’ power, kindness and self preservation is a treat indeed. Dench gives what may go down in history as her best performance yet (no small feat there) as a prudish English schoolmarm, kindly, she believes, reaching down to befriend the funky young newcomer who looks to need her guidance. Blanchett, as the art teacher with a more complicated family life than she at first betrays, gladly accepts the older woman’s offering. Little does she realize her mentor’s true motivating factors. And little does the more experienced realize what her young friend brings along with for the ride. And what a ride this is. Both women embrace and vie for power, compassion, affirmation and an irresistible touch of gossip. Neither is innocent or hateable. In the capable hands of these two fine actresses, their male co-stars (particularly Bill Nighy) and behind-the-camera team, the two beautifully drawn women are tremendously real and recognizable, whether we (their judging audience) like that or not

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Joanna Langfield (Archived Contributor)

Her voice is heard throughout the 50 states and around the world by more than one million listeners on her syndicated radio programs: Joanna Langfield’s People Report and Video and Movie Minute. She’s also seen and heard as a regular contributing commentator on CNN International, CNN, Fox News and CNBC. In print, her articles have been published in such high profile magazines as Video Review and McCall’s. Joanna Langfield is known for taking interviews to another level with probing looks at celebrities’ insights rather than just their latest projects. As a result, she’s secured a niche among the nation’s premier interviewers and movie critics. Joanna began her career on the production staff of a local Boston television station. She then focused her energies towards radio and produced talk shows at WMEX-AM in Boston. After moving to New York, she became executive producer at WMCA-AM for talk show personalities Barry Gray and Sally Jessy Raphael. She began hosting a one-minute movie review spot which, in turn, led to her top-rated weekend call in-show, The Joanna Langfield Show (1980-83). Joanna moved to WABC-AM to host The Joanna Langfield Show on Saturday nights from 9:00pm to midnight. It was the highest rated show in its time slot. From 1987-1989, Joanna hosted Today’s People on the ABC Radio network, which was fed daily to over 300 stations around the country. She also appeared on WABC-TV as a regular on-air contributor. In 1989, Joanna formed her radio production company, Joanna Langfield Entertainment Reports, to syndicate her radio reports. She is considered to be one of the top authoritative commentators on the entertainment industry. Read Lagfield's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Joanna Langfield" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).