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Notes on a Scandal is a surprisingly intelligent and thought-provoking Yandere/Stalker with a Crush movie, released in 2006 by Fox Searchlight Pictures, produced by Patrick Marbe and directed by Richard Eyre.

Based on Zoe Heller's bestselling book What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal, it tells the story of beautiful but lonely art teacher Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) who begins an affair with a 15-year-old student. However, Sheba's closest friend and confidante, a history teacher and lonely spinster named Barbara Covett (Dame Judi Dench) is secretly in love with Sheba and uses her knowledge of the affair to manipulate Sheba. Only Barbara's meticulously kept diary contains the truth of her manipulations. The film also stars Bill Nighy as Barbara's husband and Juno Temple as her daughter.


Tropes observed in the movie:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Does Barbara have Asperger's syndrome? She certainly seems to display a lot of the traits: taking things literally, obsessive interests, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, poor social skills, high intelligence. Then again maybe she's just a sociopath.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Barbara Covett, Sheba Hart, the film is full of them. Both double as Meaningful Names.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting Sheba's family is this to Sheba.
  • Butt Monkey: Sheba, until she snaps.
  • Crapsack World: The film depicts a bleak and depressing image of London, the school where Barbara and Sheba work is shown to be a vile place and most characters in the film are miserable and feel unfulfilled.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Barbara comes out with some gems. "Here come the local pubescent proles, the future plumbers and shop assistants and doubtless the odd terrorist too. In the old days we confiscated cigarettes and wank mags, how it's knives and crack cocaine. And they call it progress."
  • The Dog Bites Back: Sheba's Unstoppable Rage at the movie's denouement.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Barbara is understandably repulsed by Sheba's affair with a teenager.
  • For the Evulz: One possible interpretation of why Barbara exposes Sheba's secret.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The Headmaster.
  • It's All About Me: Barbara.
  • Jerkass: The headmaster and indeed Steven, Sheba's 15-year-old lover.
  • Karma Houdini: Barbara again.
  • The Lost Lenore: Jennifer Dodd is this to Barbara, except she's not dead, she got a job in Stoke.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Barbara and, to a lesser extent, Steven.
  • McGuffin: Barbara's diary.
  • Meaningful Name: Sheba Hart lets her "heart" rule her head while Barbara Covett "covets".
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Barbara takes a rather dim view of everyone around her.
  • Not So Different: Barbara believes this about herself and Sheba. Interestingly, the same can be said of herself and Steven as both are romantically obsessed with the same woman who is way outside their respective age groups.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Headmaster, an Expy for Tony Blair.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Barbara herself.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Barbara as shown by her inserting gold star stickers in her diary.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Barbara's preferred mode of speech. "S. and I share the ability to see through the quotidian awfulness of things."
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Barbara feels superior to most people despite living in a ground-level flat on the Archway Road with only her cat for company. Sheba calls her on this.
  • The Sociopath: Barbara.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Barbara and Steven.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Barbara hands these out like candy and Sheba gets them back to back until Sheba goes and unleashes the mother of them all on Barbara at the films climax.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Pretty much every character throughout the film has one of these. Steven has one when a classmate insults Sheba, Barbara has one when she finds out that the affair is still on and again later when Sheba refuses to help collect her dead cat from the vet, Steven's mother has one when she finds out about the affair, Sheba's husband, Richard, has one when he finds out about the affair, but then Sheba, at the film's climax, goes and tops them all!
  • Xanatos Gambit: Barbara unleashes a few over the course of the movie.
  • World of Woobie: Sheba comes from an abusive mother, Barbara is a lonely spinster, most kids at the school have had a pretty hard life, Sheba's daughter Polly is an anorexic, her son has Down's Syndrome and the only happy character in the film is Richard whose wife has cheated on him with a fifteen year old. Oh. Dear.
  • Yandere: Barbara, of course.

"You bitter old Virgin!"

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