Barbara Covett is a domineering, nonetheless lonely teacher who has worked for years at a shabby state school in London. Ruling her class with an iron fist, the only creature to whom she feels an attachment is her cat, Portia. Otherwise Barbara lives alone; she has neither friends nor confidante. All the things that make her happy or sad are committed solely, and more or less faithfully, to her diary. Then one day a young art teacher named Sheba Hart joins the school. All at once, Barbara believes that, now, at long last, she has found her longed for kindred spirit and intimate friend. Sheba is open-minded, emotional and fragile; married with two children, she seems to enjoy a happy relationship with her husband. She has, it would appear, no need for Barbara's affection. However, Barbara's day dawns when she comes across the art teacher having sex with a 15-year-old pupil named Steven Connolly. At the discovery of this scandalous affair, the two women's friendship takes an alarming turn. Believing herself to have a powerful card in her hand, Barbara foists herself on Sheba's life, demanding that she put an end to her misalliance and transfer her attentions instead to Barbara. When Sheba refuses to meet her de mands, Barbara openly threatens to reveal her secret to the world - and Sheba's husband Richard in particular. A tense psychological battle bet ween the two women ensues ...
by Richard Eyre
with Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson
USA / United Kingdom 2006