In Notes, Judi Dench pulls a fast one on both the other characters in the movie and the audience, and it’s a delight to be deceived. Dench plays Barbara, a hard-knock schoolteacher who discovers that a friend and fellow teacher (Cate Blanchett) is having an affair. She swoops in to correct the situation as responsibly and quietly as possible – or so it seems. Barbara actually has other motivations, which Dench lets seep into our consciousness drip by drip. She single-handedly turns this unassuming domestic drama into a queasy thriller.