Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Note On A Movie

Last night Wally and I saw Notes On A Scandal. Judi Dench is indescribably good playing the lonely and loathsome history teacher. It would take the pen of Barbara Covett herself, the diary-writing character Dench plays, to come up with a wickedly appropriate description of this astonishingly good performance.

In any other year, Dench would be the easy front-runner for Best Actress. No matter who else was on screen, including her co-nominee Cate Blanchett, it was hard NOT to look at Dench and relish every forced smile, grimace and (more often than not) blank stare, a stare that haunts as it betrays Covett's inner emptiness and utter loneliness.

To look away from Dench for a moment would be to miss something: This character speaks volumes even when, and especially when, she speaks nothing.

Dench probably won't get the golden statuette tomorrow night, but this performance deserves a dozen gold stars neatly placed (and long remembered) on those pages of Oscar history describing the greatest performances that didn't win.


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