A veteran high school teacher 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.
The bitter, cynical and lonely Barbara Covett is a tough and conservative teacher, near to retirement, who is loathed by her colleagues and students. In the loneliness of her apartment, she spends her spare time writing her journal, taking care of her old cat Portia and missing her special friend Jennifer Dodd. When Sheba Hart joins the high-school as the new art teacher, Barbara dedicates her attention to the newcomer, writing sharp and unpleasant comments about her behavior and clothes. When Barbara helps Sheba in a difficult situation with two students, the grateful Sheba invites her to have lunch with her family. Sheba introduces her husband and former professor Richard Hart, who is about twenty years older than she; her rebellious teenager daughter Polly; and her son Ben that has Down's Syndrome. Barbara becomes close to Sheba, but when she accidentally discovers that Sheba is having an affair with the fifteen year-old student Steven Connolly, Barbara sees the chance to ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Sheba confronts Barbara about her diary, the makeup (eyeliner) she has smudged by crying changes. One moment she had dark thick eyeliner on, the next moment she has very little of eyeliner still on, and then the eyeliner comes back as before. See more »
[voiceover of Barbara writing in her diary]
People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you.
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I saw this at a preview last night. It is a brilliant, absorbing little piece from Zoe Heller's novel about a teacher (Cate Blanchett, looking stunning) who has an affair with a 15 year old pupil and the effect this has on her relationship with a bitter, older teacher seeking selfishly for love (Judy Dench, looking 100). Great performances all round, with special mention to Bill Nighy in the Bill Nighy role. The script (Patrick Marber) is faithful to the book but enjoyable though the book was the film is actually - for a change - even better. Beautifully filmed in North London and Eastbourne (presumably the school scenes) this movie is definitely a must see.
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