Barbara Covett is a school teacher and she is overly strict with her pupils, outside school she is quite different, she lives a lonely life with her cat. Barbara sees a opportunity at school when a new art teacher starts. Sheba Hart is quite naive and this being her first teaching post she needs help. Barbara sees a good opportunity to strike up a friendship and get Sheba onside and soon sets her plan in to motion.
Barbara becomes a good and close friend and soon gets to know Sheba’s family and starts to take her plan to the next level. She keep a diary of her intentions and we soon realise she has more than just feelings of friendship for her. Soon the friendship takes a drastic turn when Barbara spots Sheba having an affair with one of her pupils. Barbara learns to use this for her own gain and start to make more of a move on Sheba.
Will Barbara’s plan come together and what will become of her and Sheba’s relationship?
I have to admit I had never heard of this film before spotting the DVD on the shelf in Tesco but as it starred two very fine actors both me and hubby decided to give it a go. The story was quite hard to get into at first but after the first 15 minutes is all started to get easier as we got to know more of Barbara and her intentions. I did enjoy the story and thought that it could be very true to life and I loved how it was played out. The story helped a lot by the strong cast which it had and I don’t think it would have had the same impact and emotions has the lead been played by a weaker actress.
Barbara was played by Dame Judi Dench and she was excellent. She came across as quite a confused and lonely woman who just needed a companion but she went about it in completely the wrong way. She was determined and did manage to show some emotions along the way, these mainly came when she was with her cat. She always seemed to be hiding something from Sheba and I found this to be intriguing and did keep me guessing till the end of the story. She delivered all of her lines with great ease and made me feel like I got to know a lot about her and the way she thought. There was a good on screen chemistry between her and Sheba. Sheba was played by Cate Blanchett and she too gave a wonderful performance, she was naive at the start of the film and I enjoyed getting to know her and she her grow through the story. The family life she had was a very good inclusion in the film as this showed a different side to her which I enjoyed.
We had some very good support actors in the film and the main one was Bill Nighy, he played the husband of Sheba. He was strong and did bring another element to the story.
The film was set in the present, well 2006 so no real effort was needed for the sets, props or costumes and they were all very good and in keeping with the story. I found the London setting to be good as it showed the poorer and more common side instead of the rich h8gh class people. The costumes which Judy Dench were given and the make up and hairstyles really did age her but she played it so well and I loved how she adapted to this older role.
The music was nothing special and it is not a soundtrack I would go out and buy but it did fit well into the story and helped with the drama and tension of the story.
The DVD which we have does have some special features which include:-
Commentary by Director Richard Eyre
The story of two obsessions Featurettes
Behind the scenes Featurettes
A conversation with Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy
In character with Cate Blanchett Featurettes
I am not a fan of bonus features so have not watched these, they do come as standard on the DVD so you will not have to pay extra to watch them. The running time of the film is 87 minutes and the rate is a 15, there is strong language and sex references so I do agree with the rate. The DVD can be bought for just £3 in Tesco and I think this is a good price.
I enjoyed the film but did find it hard to get into at the start. The acting is good and therefore I am giving this film 4 stars. It is a good British film with a good cast but not the best of British I have seen. I think it is definitely worth a watch if you too can get it for the low price like I did.