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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Scent of a Woman is the kind of film that many would think belongs to
bygone era. While it is frank and contemporary without sugar coating it
illustrates the value of character over glitz and how small acts can have
long lasting consequences.
The film pits two characters who are diametrical opposites. Al Pacino plays the world weary retired Army Lt. Colonel who through a stupid accident looses his sight and his way of life. Chris Donnelly is a young prep school kid on a scholarship whose way of life may be coming to an end owing to the acts of richer kids at the exclusive prep school who pull a stupid stunt.
The blind Lt. Colonel needs an escort so that he can go to NYC and have a rip roaring time before he makes a fateful decision. The poor preppy needs to earn a few bucks to travel and is in desperate need of some advice on how to get through his crisis at school.
The interplay between the two characters is mind boggling. It is more riveting than the best Grisham novel.
Both characters are asked to make life and death decisions that call for them to reach deep into their inner core. The right decision is unhappily the tougher decision to make.
Two terrific scenes that are not to be missed. The first is in the New York ballroom where the blind Lt. Colonel teaches the actress Miss Anwar to dance the tango. It is so smooth and dramatic that even a couch potato is tempted to reach for the Yellow Pages in search of dance lessons. The second and most profound is the speech that Al Pacino makes in defense of Chris Donnelly at the prep school disciplinary hearing. It has to go down as one of the great orations of all times.
The Scent of a Woman is very satisfying on many levels. The character development is superb, dialogue terrific, glamorous locations and a story line that requires the characters to show themselves to be the people they really are. The film has a lot of funny lines and great drama. This film is almost a 10 out of 10.
I think this incredible movie leaves a legacy of life, it makes us appreciate life an also understand that a life can be lived in a minute just like Al Pacino says in one of this movie's most beautiful scenes, it also talks about values, integrity, and moral principles, by sides of this movie's wonderful script it's incredible cast makes it one of the most outstanding movies I have ever seen. The incredible scene of tango, the deep arguments about life between Al Pacino's character and Chris O'Donnell's, and also those scenes when Al Pacino's character senses women's scent and tells them the name of the perfume or the name of the soap it's really amazing, all of this with the sarcastic sense of humor of this movie, it's really great. I TRULY RECOMMEND TO SEE IT
Thank God! Pacino FINALLY received the Oscar statue he so rightfully
deserved in all the years he was in the acting business. It's nice to know
the Academy finally came to their senses, and awarded him a Best Actor Oscar
for this landmark role. This is one of his most memorable performances, and
I'm sure when people think Pacino they think about his portrayal of the
blind Colonel Slade. Hoo ha!
The movie itself is not, technically, great. Very good, but not great. The plot is quite predictable and driven via patented Hollywood devices. The courtroom climax contains one of Pacino's most powerful monologues. However, its outcome is melodramatic.
Personally, I thought the whole idea of Pacino being more perceptive of the world than any man or woman with perfect eyesight was far-fetched and sometimes more implausible than stunning. I'm sure there are blind men in the world who ARE in fact very perceptive to what goes on in the world, but few--if any--who can recall a whole history triggered simply by the sound of one's voice. How is he able to tell Chris O'Donnell has pimples? He's not handicapped by blindness; this guy has psychic powers! He doesn't need sight!
I do have to say that some of the most memorable lines come from this movie. Pacino says some original and wildly funny monologues involving subject matter I cannot discuss in this message. And of course there's the timeless quote: "Hoo ha!" Which later became a Pacino trademark.
"Scent of a Woman" is a somewhat flawed, but effective and entertaining film. It's a must-see for Pacino fans everywhere! It's not everyday you can catch a performance this powerful!
My score: 8 (out of 10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the most overall pleasing movies I've seen, Scent of a Woman wins
all levels--emotional and intellectual. Of course the primary reason it
succeeds is Al Pacino, whose Oscar was well-deserved, needless to say.
O'Donnell doesn't overplay his part, and in doing so is realistic and
natural. The tango scene, the Ferrari scene, the pseudo-courtroom scene
excellent. Pacino is wholly believable, and although at first he seems
overly gruff and nasty, we grow to sympathize with him--especially when
twerp Randy insults him cutthroat-style at Thanksgiving. It's obvious
while Slade acts like he doesn't care, his repetitious "hoo-ha" response
makes it obvious he does.
My favorite line comes during the Ferrari scene (I was laughing so hard
the cop left, failing to realize Slade is blind.)
As Slade careens down the street at 70 mph, Charlie yells, "You're going
get us killed!" Slade answers, "Can you blame me? I'm blind!"
On that note, Pacino succeeds marvellously in portraying a blind man. We
never doubt for a second that he does, in fact, live in total darkness.
others, like the cop, probably the spectators in the restaurant in the
scene, don't realize it. Ironically enough, Slade acts as though he
want to be treated as the proverbial blind man who needs a cane and a
guiding arm. However, in the final scene, he emerges with a
never-before-seen pair of dark glasses (after which follows the
speech.) I wonder, was this to throw them off guard??
This movie is a modern classic. Some find it too long, but I enjoyed every minute and didn't acutely notice the 2 1/2 hrs gone by. A wonderful film that I recommend to all.
Why is Pacino such a beast acting? I'll tell you why. His passion.
Passion that overwhelms all surrounding him. His voice starts roaring
and he forgets that he is Al Pacino. He suddenly becomes his character,
he stops seeing around him and he is now a prisoner in his role.
The movie is about Pacino. His acting is grand, superb, majestic, heart-wrenching, deep, emotional, so forth. His portrayal of a blind man dangling in the rope of his life, is not only credible but immensely touching. We see directly, through his crystalline performance all of the pain that griefs on his character. Any other actor would have given a corny, over the top performance. Pacino is the Ace.
Chris O' Donnell gives also a fantastic performance, shy and unsure will start to understand Colonel Frank Slade in a short trip that will change their future lives. This movie is not Hollywood Rubish. Martin Brest directs a movie that hits no cheap feelings and floods on great emotions that immediately contact the viewer. You have to be rock solid to not be touched.
A masterpiece, one of the best studies on man's desperation, helped by wonderful performances and and a stirring, poignant script, with no wasted lines. You will raise goosebumps with scenes like the tango scene, you will laugh, you will cry, you will feel empathy, sorrow, anger. Isn't this movie the Holy Grail of Emotions.
Don't miss it. One of a kind.
Pacino's Col. Slade is a portrait of turmoil. Not
he's blind, but because he's never been able to rise above
the blindness and still find peace with himself and with
the world. One of the great tragic characters of recent
His story is much like Hickey's in "Iceman Cometh" or Howard
Beale's in "Network." They never think they do good in
world with what they have, so they find themselves in this
dark hole and they stay there. No one can help them out. No
looks after them. No one feels what they feel. As years
go on and opportunities are lost, the dark hole gets filled
a lot anger, sorrow and possibly regret. Can they be healed?
Do they want to be healed?
In "Scent of a Woman," Pacino presents this dark, gloomy character perfectly in his Oscar winning performance. He overwhelms you with his constant bellowing and ordering of O'Donnell's Charlie. He's a man who never left the Military. My guess is that you can never take the military of out the man, only the man out of the military. He doesn't blame anyone or anything for his blindness. He's man who thinks that somehow, he was destined to "tour the battlefield" this way.
Movies often have lines that become part of our culture. The line from
this one is
hoo-ha! I don't know why for sure Pacino says that. He does though and
great. Whenever I ask anyone about this movie, those who have seen it 99%
of the time answer with a hearty hoo-ha!
As for the performances: Pacino, I dare say, gave his best performance ever. It was also the riskiest. We're not supposed to like him, but we do. We can tell he doesn't think that Charlie is a moron. We can tell that he likes him in fact as a son. It strikes us as sad though. We can sense that this man has always been lonely. But then he lost his sight because of his mere stupidity and fondness for booze. He became even more lonely and sarcastic. Mean in fact, but funny. I was laughing my $ss off when he drove the Fararri, yelling hoo-ha! at every turn. Charlie has what Slade attempted to achieve his whole life: integrity. As he says, Slade did stuff just to do stuff. Charlie does it because he means it. Chris O'Donnell, as Charlie Simms, is good. Albeit a bit understated. As I said before, Pacino is masterful. The actor who played the rich boy George is funny too.
When I first saw this, I thought the ending ruined it. It seems a bit trite and cliche ridden, but the final speech is good. Brilliant, in fact. Pacino's character comes to his own realizations and ultimately his climax in the speech. Brilliantly acted by Pacino, I may add. He takes several stupid lines in the speech and makes them forceful.
This is a good movie. Great really. It ranks on my top 10 of all time. Number 1 being Saving Private Ryan. If you want to see what Academy voters are swayed by, see Unforgiven. If you want to see a masterful movie that contains one of what I consider to be the best performance by an actor ever(the real best being Charles Sheen in Major League 2)see Scent of a Woman. The script does have its errors. The time duration is often unclear. Slade tells Charlie that his gun is not a gun, but a weapon or a piece. Seconds later, Charlie asks for it and Slade refers to it as his gun. Just little stuff like that are the reasons why the Academy didn't give it their vote. I don't care about that though. See it. Remember, the two best syllables in the world are....oh wait. I can't print that. If you've seen the movie, you get the joke.
Al Pacino (The Godfather, Looking for Richard) won an Oscar for Best Actor
for his outstanding performance as Lt. Col. Frank Slade. I have the tape
and have watched it a bazillion times. I have seen many other actors playing
a blind man but Pacino outwits them all. I have watched it closely just to
watch his eyes. He is terrific! Every time we watch the movie we spend at
least two days going: "Oo-rah!"
I like prep school movies and I have two movies where Chris O'Donnell
(Circle of Friends) Charlie Simms is in a prep school. I guess it goes with
his type. I like the part of
Charlie who is doing the best he can with the weekend he has to face. One
of the most difficult things for people is to feel is useless. That is how
Lt. Co. Frank Slade feels. He also has a cynicism about life that in a sense
is funny because of its irony. He meets Charlie and has everything planned
out. The Colonel has extremely good taste. Meeting young Charlie, who is
in a very difficult situation, the outspoken Lt. Col. found a reason to live
and to feel useful again, even enjoying the smell of the perfume of
Charlie's teacher. I did not see the 1974 Italian film "PROFUMO DI DONNA,"
but would love to see the performance of the late Vittorio Gassman, one of
the most well known actor of the Italian Theater and Cinema.
My Favorite Scenes: Lt. Col. driving in New York city, dancing tango, and
giving a speech before the student body, to clear up Charlie's name. This is
a great movie!
My Favorite Quotes: Lt. Col. Frank Slade: "Oo-rah!" ..." But there isn't
nothing' like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for
that.." "There are two kinds of people in this world, Charlie. The first
group are the people that face the music; the second group are those who run
for cover. Cover is better."
I do not tend to go along with Hollywood-created cult figures, that kind of
hero-worship, idol-making, whatever: you can have your Julia Roberts and
such like making endless and mindless blockbuster hits with such insipid
nonsense as `Pretty Woman', `Notting Hill' and so on, but it has to be
something more serious like Joel Schumacher's `Dying Young' or even Steven
Soderbergh's `Erin Brockovich' to convince me that Ms Roberts can/might be a
The same goes for Al Pacino. Until the arrival of `Scent of a Woman' he was
just merely another actor of those who come out of the Hollywood
mass-manufacturing industry. `Scent of a Woman' changed all that: here
Pacino shows he is a grand master, a brilliant actor. It is not important
that this film is a redoing of an Italian original, or even whether this
film won him an Oscar: the film stands up for its own merits, and Pacino
reaches colossal heights in this well-directed drama, ably and willingly
aided by a refreshing Chris O'Donnell. Very much a two-man film as the
characterisation centres masterfully on these two leading characters, Pacino
had to carry out a truly theatre-like interpretation of a blind retired
colonel; Bo Goldman's dialogues are up to the challenge, creating some
magnificent monologues which Pacino so superbly enacted.
My rating is somewhat higher than the surprisingly low IMDb user rating: a memorable and classic piece of serious cinema which puts Pacino into a very high category.
This movie once again proves that Pacino is one of the greatest actors of our time and that we all should be very glad he choose to portray Colonel Frank Slade in 'Scent of a woman', no one else could have done it. The story of 'Scent of a woman' stands and falls with Pacino's acting and the bringing alive of his character. It's touching and makes you smile and leaves you behind with the feeling that you've just have had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Frank Slade, a crazy but interesting man. Chris O'Donnell does what he has to do, he gives Pacino the opportunity to shine and triggers the story. The interaction between him and Pacino does the job and provides us with great lines. Overall a great movie. I give this one a 8 out of 10.
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