Notes on a Scandal is a 2006 film about a veteran high school teacher who befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.
- [voiceover, after Sheba has confessed her affair] And then I realised my fury had blinded me. There was a magnificent opportunity here. With stealth, I might secure the prize long-term, forever in my debt. I could gain everything by doing nothing.
- [voiceover] People languish for years with partners who are clearly from another planet. We want so much to believe that we've found our other. It takes courage to recognise the real as opposed to the convenient.
- [voiceover] When I was young I had such a vision of myself. I dreamed I'd be someone to be reckoned with, you know, in the world. But one learns one's scale. I've such a dread of ending my days alone. But recently, I've allowed myself to think that I may not be. Am I wrong?
- [voiceover] People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
- [voiceover] This last month has been the most delicious time of my life. Of course we have had our ups and downs. The pressure is intense when two women share their lives. But, oh, but what marvelous intensity it is! Circumstances are not always ideal. The swinish press, the stringent bail terms, meetings with lawyers and so on. But all things considered, we're coping admirably. In fact, gold stars abundant. The cuckold permits her to see their children once a week. Thee are usually tears and fits of teenage tantrums, too. In time she'll recognise she's just not the mothering kind, and then Barbara will be there to comfort her. Nurse, beloved friend and wise counsel.
- [to Barbara] 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."
- [to Sheba] I knew who you were when we met. You were young. I knew it might get tough, but I was prepared. You're a good mother, but at times you've been a fucking lousy wife. Why didn't you come to me? You could have told me how lonely you were. You never trusted me to help you. I'm not saying I was so fucking fabulous, but I was here.
- 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: 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? [slaps Barbara] Because I didn't help you collect your cat? [slaps Barbara again] 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!
- Loneliness can turn one into a monster.
- One Woman's Mistake Is Another's Opportunity...
- One woman's secret is another woman's power. One woman's fear is another woman's weapon. One woman's life is in another woman's hands....
- Judi Dench - Barbara Covett
- Cate Blanchett - Bathsheba "Sheba" Hart
- Tom Georgeson - Ted Mawson
- Michael Maloney - Sandy Pabblem
- Joanna Scanlan - Sue Hodge
- Shaun Parkes - Bill Rumer
- Emma Williams - Linda
- Andrew Simpson - Steven Connolly
- Phil Davis| - Brian Bangs
- Bill Nighy - Richard Hart
- Juno Temple - Polly Hart