First I'll give you my shorthand Antoine and Dwayne-style review of Notes on a Scandal: Hated it!
I know this is supposed to be a thriller for the art house crowd. How do I know that? It's playing at the arty theaters, the trailer makes it out to be highbrow suspense, and the cast is serious. Also, most of the reviews tell you that's what it is. I'm convinced that's also how it was sold to Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. How else to explain why they signed up? Well, if you start with a pile of poo, it doesn't matter how you dress it up (meringue it, make a poo reduction, adorn it with a poo foam), when you lift the silver lid with a flourish, it stinks just the same.
It's not like I have terribly high standards, either. Honestly, I watch Gay, Straight or Taken, remember? If they had just recycled all the banal thriller ingredients, I wouldn't be so irritated. Instead, they made me feel sorry for the pedophile, and it's still pissing me off a day later. Poor, poor Sheba. Guys, she's saddled with some old boring dude for a husband and she's been stuck at home raising her disabled child for ten years, doesn't she deserve a walk on the wild side? Why shouldn't she fuck a barely post-pubescent? Oh, and he's ALMOST 16, so he's hardly an innocent. All that is what she tells herself. Besides, we ALL have sexual feelings for kids sometimes, but we just don't act on them. That's what her husband says, anyway. PS? The kid lies and lies about having a horrible home life. He deceives her! What else was she supposed to do but blow him? She has every excuse. Maybe that's the point of the film. We all see ourselves as innocent. We may make poor choices, but we're the victim. Yuck. But that's not the worst of it.
Finally, finally, the ultimate villain in this picture is not the pedophile at all. No, the BIG BAD of this picture is the obsessive, isolated, sociopathic queer.You know, cuz we haven't seen a thriller done THAT way before.