Bruce Parker

The Queen and Notes on a Scandal - Movie Reviews

Filed By Bruce Parker | January 15, 2007 1:49 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: movies

On this past Saturday night two friends and I decided to do a double feature film fest at the Keystone Arts Cinema. Their names will not be revealed in order to protect the innocent. Because interestingly enough we decided to only pay for one movie by using the bathroom, hanging out in the area outside the various theaters, and talking so that we could slip into the second film unnoticed. Tragically I realize that in the future if I am going to attempt this maneuver I need to be sure to have my soda as full as possible because a movie without a soda is tragic.

My thoughts on The Queen and Notes on a Scandal follow.

The Queen was an amazing movie and the three golden globe awards that it is nominated for and poised to win demonstrate the accomplishment of this film. Helen Mirren has been nominated for best actress, Stephen Frears for best director, and Peter Morgan for best screenplay. Although a bit slow at times the movie was riveting in its portrayal of Queen Elizabeth's dramatic change in values and understanding as she attempts to deal with the death of Princess Diana.

Most curious was the fact that I and friend number one who is in her thirties really enjoyed the movie while our younger friend did not. I was left wondering if perhaps you had to live in the time of Princess Diana and be old enough to remember her presence in order grasp part of what made the film so full of meaning. We had this conversation about age and context as we were waiting for the second film to start.

Notes on a Scandal made a good second film for the night and is also getting a good share of Golden Globe nominations. Competing with Helen Mirren for best actress will be Judi Dench. Nominated for best supporting actress is Cate Blanchett. Her performance in this film was amazing and inspired. Her character was both complex, simple and pulled off with a natural ease that showed her true talent. The final nomination for Patrick Marber was for best screenplay. This movie was good but left me troubled for a few reasons.

The film centers on two women caught up in their own internal dramas and their relationship with each other and in the case of Sheba Hart the art teacher her relationship with an older and younger man take center stage. The movie is told from the perspective of Barbara, a lonely and presumably lesbian teacher. Barbara's character presents a troubling picture of a lonely and repressed older lesbian whose desires and efforts to repress them eventually lead her to truly psychotic behavior. It is a more than a little troubling that she reifies the old notion of the lonely psychotic queer. Interestingly the relationship between Sheba, the thirty something art teacher, and the fifteen-year-old student is portrayed as very reciprocal and human. Capturing the complex nature of power in intergenerational relationships. But Lesbianism is left looking much more sinister than a teacher sleeping with her students. Yea, it was a good movie but over all it was troubling.


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