This is a well-written and very well-acted movie about two seriously flawed characters. Cate Blanchett plays a high school teacher who starts a relationship with one of her students. Judi Dench’s character is much more interesting. I suppose she is the villain of the movie, but to call her that seems a bit too simple; more precisely, her character is very immature and very damaged; her life seems to have been marked by repression and guilt, and as a result she doesn’t seem capable to relate to other people at an adult level, instead developing obsessions and elaborate fantasy scenarios about her friendships to cope for the lack of love in her life. The latest object of her infatuation is Blanchett’s character, and blackmail is the method she uses to keep her close.
All the characters in this movie seem real and unusually detailed, their motivations and actions, however reproachable or dislikable, well thought out. Thoroughly enjoyable.