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Scent of a Woman

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
12 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From Oscar nominated director Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop, Meet Joe Black), I had heard and seen bits and pieces of this film and the lead actor, I just had to see it. Basically Charlie Simms (Golden Globe nominated Chris O'Donnell) attending Baird School, and classmate George Willis, Jr. (young Philip Seymour Hoffman) are witnesses to a prank on headmaster Mr. Trask (Independence Day's James Rebhorn), who secretly bribes Charlie for the culprits identities. Charlie, yearning for money to return to his family in Oregon, has accepted a job looking after blind, eccentric and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Oscar and Golden Globe winning Al Pacino) over the Thanksgiving weekend. Slade however plans a trip to New York, to supple all the pleasures, such as luxury hotel comfort, fine eating and drinking (wines), dancing, an escort, and after all this he plans to "blow his brains out". Over the time they spend together, Charlie sees what an interesting character Frank is, but of course it is when he is holding a gun that his conscience truly comes to a head. Thankfully Frank doesn't commit suicide, and they both return to New Hampshire, where Charlie faces his courtroom style assembly to find and punish the prank culprits. Frank surprisingly shows up, in place of Charlie's parents, and he shouts his opinions of all events Charlie has explained to him, and Frank manages to get him off the hook. Also starring Gabrielle Anwar as Donna, Richard Venture as W.R. Slade, Bradley Whitford as Randy, Ron Eldard as Officer Gore, Frances Conroy as Christine Downes, Sally Murphy as Karen Rossi and Nicholas Sadler as Harry Havemeyer. It may be almost two and half hors long, but I can't imagine any of the material being taken out. O'Donnell is very good as the unworldly teenage escort, but it is of course Pacino that steals the entire film with his brilliant eccentricity, avoiding too much sentimentality, he thoroughly deserved his Academy Award. His finest moments include recognising womens' perfumes (as the title suggests), the tango dance with Anwar, driving a rented Ferrari at high speed with a terrified O'Donnell, obviously the assembly, and every time he barks his famous "hoo-ha" cough. It was nominated the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, it was nominated the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Screenplay. Al Pacino was number 1 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, he was number 26 on The 100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, and he was number 5 (along with Robert De Niro) on The World's Greatest Actor. Very good!

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One of the best (if not the best) Al Pacino's performances

Author: kurciasbezdalas from Lithuania
29 December 2008

I've seen a lot of Al Pacino's movies, though not all of them, because usually if it's not a crime movie I always afraid that I ain't going too like it, but still watch it sooner or later. Scent of a Woman sounded kinda boring, but it wasn't. It's a great movie. Though without Al Pacino it would be much worse, but still I liked the plot and characters of this movie, so there was no boring moments, even when Al Pacino wasn't on the screen. It quickly became my favorite Al Pacino's performance, it's even better that his performance at Scarface. He as always was very energetic in this film. He won an Oscar for this performance and he really deserves it.

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unforgettable experience

Author: alshehri from Saudi Arabia
24 December 2008

if you think you are going to see a funny and romantic movie then you are wrong .this movie is so much higher than that .it's about principles and ethics. Al Pacino reaches the highest level of being (in the moment).he makes another standard of well acting as Frank Slade (a blind rough man needs company during the holiday )and the elegant Chris O'Donnel as Charlie (a hard-working student needs money ).their characters are completely the opposite but they do have something in common they will never leave in need . after 16 years ,the movie is still that good. this type of movies make you think and revise your deeds. do your self a favor ..and watch it.

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Author: mr_popcorn from every where
16 November 2008

Scent of a Woman tackles life important issues like values, principles and integrity and is done in such a way that it brings power and sensitivity at the same time. Director Martin Brest didn't rely on "tried and tested" Hollywood tearjerker formula but instead takes it deep from the heart and just overwhelms you with great emotions. If this film haven't touched you at the very least, then I don't know what will. What tops off this mesmerizing film is the intensity that the actors brought to the table most especially Al Pacino in one of his career defining roles as Lt. Col. Frank Slade.

In what is possibly one of the finest showcase of acting I have ever seen, Al Pacino disappears completely and minute by minute a new sentient being emerges, that of a blind man whose sarcastic wit and rip roaring voice demands attention and believe you me, you cannot help but get carried away by Pacino's superb performance. One shining moment is most definitely the speech that his character gave at the end. It is undoubtedly one of the finest monologues I have ever seen in the history of cinema. Great delivery by Pacino. Nothing more can be said, it is powerful, deep, grand, heart-wrenching and majestic. It is a testament as to why Al Pacino can almost be compared to a god, a living, breathing god. Chris O' Donnell, not to say he underperformed but he delivers as well playing school boy Charlie Simms. One might say he was completely overshadowed by an acting god which is not entirely true. He had some defining moments throughout the film and is overall fantastic.

Scent of a Woman is a must-see.

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"How you ever gonna survive in this world without me?"

Author: RainDogJr from Mexico City
22 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A film that I never had big desires to watch it however I do had seen some parts of it before a couple of days when I saw it complete for the very first time. One of the scenes that I had in my memory was when the Colonel (Al Pacino) and Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) spend the Thanksgiving Day in the home of the Colonel's older brother. Scent of a Woman is a very popular film, one of those that often you can watch on TV and that its DVD is at every stone in a very good price but for me there's have been always a better option to buy or to rent. Last week I wet to my local Blockbuster, now I really like to go to Blockbuster because they sale used DVDs that practically are new and there's always a promotion of something and I do have found some gems, for example the Criterion Collection DVD of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress for only $7. So last week I was at the store and after choosing the films to rent (Takashi Miike's Yakuza Demon and Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro) I took a look to the used for sale DVDs and I found only two films that I wanted, for $2, (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and From Hell) and there was this promotion so I could get another used DVD for free. I choose Scent of a Woman just to finally see if I was missing the chance to watch something really good or if I had just wasted the chance to get another film on DVD for free.

Then for me Scent of a Woman was not time wasted but also is not a film I would like to watch again. Certainly the weekend that the Colonel and Charlie spend together delivered great moments but those moments are basically the entertaining parts of the trip, the funny ones. Here we have in Pacino's character a man that is living his last days, better what he had in mind would have been his last days. Then we have O'Donnell's character, a young man with problems with certainly with a promising future. By the end they will understand the other, they will appreciate the other, they lived an unforgettable Thanksgiving weekend and their lives changed for good. I think the most successful scene is the one in the house of the Colonel's older brother. Since the first moment when the Colonel arrives you know how are going to be the things. There you have a broken direct relationship, past and present together, each one of them with someone to defend, a wife and a friend, when Colonel attacks the other guy you feel that the whole "show" was done right and the reaction after the incident of the older bother confirms that.

I think a good way to explain my thoughts about this film is by writing my thoughts about one of the last moments of it. The speech was interesting and effective. When they announce that in Charlie's case will be justice watch how the people react, I found it fake. So Scent of a Woman does have interesting things, fun moments and long moments (yes the film is quite long and not in a good way), as the "inspirational" film it doesn't work on me. As for Pacino's performance well I know many found it overrated but I liked it however is not by any chance one of his finest.

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Al Pacino In Overdrive.

Author: screenman from United Kingdom
15 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Colonel Slade has plans. He means to spend a weekend on the town, having just about what the hell he likes from good food and fast cars to loose women. We wants it all; because in the end he means to shoot himself.

Al Pacino plays Colonel Slade. Some time in the recent past, in an excess of recklessness, he played a game with hand-grenades and it all went terribly wrong. Now he is blind. And he's in a blind fury. A proud man of action is doomed to creep about with a white stick and he just can't bear it any more. He is still young - late 30's to early 40's - and the prospect of a life of blindness is too much to face.

He lives in a kind of annexe to a house in the suburbs with some family. Unaware of his plans, they are going away for the weekend and advertise for a student on the local campus to keep him company for a fee. Luckless Charlie Simms draws the short straw.

Pacino delivers a performance of such over-the-top methodology that if you sit too close to the screen you risk being knocked out of your chair. It has all of the explosive unpredictability of 'Goodfellas' or 'Resevoir Dogs'. He is almost a hand-grenade in his own right. Charlie Simms, on the other hand, is his complete opposite. Superbly played by Chris O'Donnell; he's quiet, polite, sensitive and propitiatory - almost a sucker, given the wrong company. Each is a perfect foil for the other, but connect in the one quality that most matters to them both: honour.

In other ways Slade has adjusted to blindness very well. He is good at detecting body language. His hearing is extremely acute. And his sense of smell is almost supernatural - especially in regard to women's perfume.

Together this odd couple barge through the weekend in a wonderful mutual learning-curve. Most of Slade's family despise him. If he was an arrogant cuss before, blindness has made him a bitter one. Now he's pretty much insufferable. We follow him and his protégé on a series of mostly hilarious adventures during which Slade's terminal intentions gradually become clear.

At the same time, Charlie Simms has issues of his own. He witnessed a prank at college of which a despised member of staff was the butt. Those who did the prank have rich fathers who can pull strings. He, on the other hand, has no-one. It seems highly likely that he will be the scapegoat. There's even a chance he might be expelled.

That sounds like a job for the colonel.

You can hardly fail to like this movie. It's a little disjointed in parts, but from the pleasant theme music, and all of the other technical elements, down to the quality of acting and subtle resolution of the story, it wins you over with its completeness and its human empathy. Some charming little cameos from the likes of Gabrielle Anwar perfectly complement the two lead roles.

Though I only give it 8 stars it is still one of my favourites.

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My Favourite Al Pacino Film...

Author: Thomas Hardcastle from United Kingdom
2 June 2008

I thought Scarfatchay was boring. I thought the Godfather was very good. I thought Any Given Sunday was boring. I thought The Devil's Advocate was good. I thought Heat was one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life. I thought Scent of a Woman was very good. As you can see, I think some of Pacino's films are terrific, and others are mind-numbingly boring.

Scent of a Woman is a touching film, with comedic moments, mixed with tragedy. The two protagonists go on a journey (one willing, the other merely dragged along for the ride), and the climax to the film is a conclusion to what they have learned along the course of the weekend (film).

I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending to the film is one of my favourite scenes in any film. Pacino deserved the Oscar for his portrayal of Frank Slade, and it is a shame that Chris O'Donnell appears to have fizzled away, because he showed a lot of promise in these early years.

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Excellent Performance

Author: ussaribb39 from United States
26 August 2007

I saw this movie for the first time last year on Encore and it's a truly magnificent film with brilliant acting by Pacino & O'Donnell. There are those who believe the movie is too long but after seeing the movie on television and edited down to two and a half hours, I know why Martin Brest disowned those versions. In fact, after viewing the 2minute trailer, I'd love to see the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor - there are some great lines in it that never made it to the movie.

After we go through the emotional roller-coaster of the first two hours, the audience is rewarded by one of the best on-screen monologues ever. You also get to see some other actors in minor parts (Brad Whitford for instance).

As a native New Yorker, it's also great seeing a movie that was entirely shot in New York (minus the airport scene filmed in Newark, NJ). Whether it's Emma Willard's Academy in Upstate or the Rossi's house on Staten Island to the Oak Room in the famed Plaza Hotel, it's a real NY gem.

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A Great Actor

Author: Cinema_Lover_Egypt from Cairo, Egypt
20 February 2004

This is a fantastic movie which shows the life of many people in the world who are blind and try to end their lives. Al Pacino really could do his best and nobody would act better than him in this movie. He really deserved the Oscar prize he won for his role. The story of the movie encourages us to face disability and failure.

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Pacino's greatest performance

Author: carmalcolm from COVENTRY UK
23 January 2004

Having watched this film on ITV a few nights ago for the second time, convinces me that Al Pacino would win the greatest acting performance of all time. One would believe he was actually blind. Although the film itself was nothing to rave about and rightly failed to win the award for best film, ... Every should see this film if only for the tango scene. I can't believe some of the negative comments on this board

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