Notes on a Scandal

Flower in the Oxford Botanical Gardens

To call Notes on a Scandal a ‘thriller,’ as many have done, is to strike close to the reasons for which I found it largely unsatisfying as a piece of cinematic work. While decently acted, the story just couldn’t justify the drama that the producers tried to spin around the story. It turned out more like an example of amplified tabloidism, rendered a bit surreal through the inappropriate Philip Glass soundtrack (though my sense that the music made the plot seem trivial may derive from how I associate Glass inescapably with the bombing scenes in The Fog of War).

While the film was not without interesting elements – how a narrator can both be exceptionally aware of the workings of the world around her and profoundly ignorant of how others perceive her – they are ultimately not enough to redeem it as a piece of storytelling. If you’re going to make a film about people violating societal taboos, they ought not be so wishy-washy about it. Nobody wants an uncommitted, neurotic villain, nor one with no particular artfulness through which to be redeemed.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

6 thoughts on “Notes on a Scandal

  1. You know, it has been more than two weeks since you had a person in your photo of the day. It has been six weeks since it wasn’t just some random stranger in a crowd.

    Makes Oxford seem a bit barren.

  2. Dan Savage on the whole Mary Cheney thing:

    “And so long as your party insists on making the fitness of homosexuals to marry or parent—or, hell, exist—a subject of public debate, Mary, your decision to become a parent is germane and very much fit for public discussion and debate. The GOP’s selective embrace of some pregnant dykes—only knocked-up lesbians with powerful connections will be treated with respect—is a disconnect that demands answers. From you, from your father, from your venomous mother, from the idiot president you helped elect. Is that fair? Maybe not. Want to blame someone? Go look in the mirror—and then come out swinging, Mary—for yourself, your partner, and your child.”

  3. Erm, that sounds more like furious – perhaps justified – condemnation, rather than news per se.

  4. Re: photos without humans,

    I will include a photo with a person in it within the next 24 hours. A lot of people are uncomfortable about having images of themselves on the blog, though they seem quite happy to tolerate dozens of them (most far less flattering) on Facebook.


    No problem. I am happy to help with matters photographic.

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