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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The genre of the film is human drama. Charlie who is from not a rich family goes to a prestige school as a scholarship student. One day, he witnesses that his friends prepares for a trick and is in a difficult situation. In order to earn the traveling expenses to go back to his house for Christmas, he takes a part-time job during Thanksgiving day. The job is to look after a blind man Frank who is a retired colonel during his family's absence. Unexpectedly, Charlie goes to New York with him. He is often confused because Frank is a very difficult person and quick-temperd. However, as some time passes, he gradually realises that Frank is actually very kind and attentive. The friendship between them comes out on their journey to New York. There are so many memorable scenes in the film which I can never forget is Frank's speech in front of the disciplinary action committee and students to prove Charlie's noble character. The film shows that both of them find hope for their lives again and live their lives positively.
If I met Lt.Colonel Frank Slade earlier. If I could hear his last
speech, that captivating speech earlier..something would have been
different for sure. I watched this masterpiece today.. but don't know
how many times I rewind and played that speech... those words are still
echoing inside my head :
"But there is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There's no prosthetic for that. You think you're merely sending this splendid foot solder back home to Oregon with tail between his legs, but I say you are executing his SOUL!
Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard. Now here's Charlie. He's come to the crossroads. He has chosen a path. It's the right path. It's a path made of principle that leads to character. Let him continue on his journey. You hold this boy's future in your hands, committee. It's a valuable future. Believe me. Don't destroy it. Protect it. Embrace it. It's gonna make you proud one day, I promise you."
For me it was literally a breathtaking journey of 156 minutes only.I wish this journey could last much more longer.Because Scent of a woman changed my vantage point towards life in many aspects . Such an authoritative performance by Al Pacino.
P.S. Frank's Tango with the young girl was such a pleasure of mind and so refreshing.
Hollywood film 'Scent of a woman' is about two men who learn some 'fundamental truths' about life. It features nice performances by American actors Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell. On the one hand, it is the former character who shows viewers how a blind man can be more wise than normal people with eyes despite being treated badly by family members. On the other hand, one learns some bitter truths about school life through an honest boy whose preference for justness conveys that it would not at all be ethical to betray one's friends. As a good part of this film depicts school life without resorting to caricatures, one learns that it is the poor and weak students who are destroyed because of their integrity. This film also features an "American style philosophy" about honesty and integrity in the form of a brilliant speech delivered by Al Pacino who depicts all kinds of emotions ranging from anger, desperation and frustration. His performances are as meaningful and pertinent in 2014 as they were in 1993 when he won best actor Oscar for this film. Lastly, a brief word for intelligent cinéphiles : Italian director Dino Risi made the original film "Profumo Di Donna" in 1974 with actor Vittorio Gassman who played the role of blind army captain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) is a student on scholarship in Baird
School. He comes from Oregon and his mother own a grocery store which
opens at 5am and closes at 1am.
One day, he was approached by George Willis Jr. (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Trent Potter (Todd Louiso), Harry Havemeyer (Nicholas Sadler) and Jimmy Jameson (Matt Smith) about a Thanksgiving trip to Sugarbush. Charlie rejects the offer because he can not afford it.
Mr. Trask (James Rebhorn), the school's headmaster drives a new Jaguar XJS given by the Board of Trustees caught the attention of Harry Havemeyer that he intended to greet him.
Charlie checks out the notice board for a part-time job to fill his holidays instead of returning all the way to Oregon. He decided to take a babysitting job. He meets up with Gail and then had an interview session with Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino). A veteran soldier discharged from the military due to sight impaired. Charlie is frighten by his attitude and words but still take the job.
At night, he works as a school librarian and he met George Jr., who wants to borrow a reserved book which is not allowed to taken out although he promises to return the next day. Charlie locks the door and walks along with George Jr. That night, they saw three students messing with the lamp post as they attach something to it. Apparently, George Jr. knows the three culprit when Mrs. Hunsaker (June Squibb) sudden appearance from behind was curious about the things that is going on.
Next morning, Mr. Trask drives his Jaguar XJS and parks under the same slot with the lamp post above it. Harry starts using the school's microphone and mock at Mr. Trask's leadership and his car as the "something" turns out to be a yellow balloon. The yellow balloon becomes a giant ball as Mr. Trask jumps to burst the balloon. When he gets to burst it, unknown white liquid stains his car.
Mrs. Hunsaker informs Mr. Trask that three boys has plan to sabotage his car and the two other witnesses are George Jr. and Charlie. They are called in for questioning to identify the culprits. George Jr. could not see the culprits and Charlie would not say who. Then, Mr. Trask offers Charlie a bribe of recommendation into Harvard School to think about it.
After school, George Jr. was curious to know if Charlie mention the names but he denies and head to Frank's home. When Charlie reach Frank's home, he is asked to prepare Frank's uniform into luggage because there he has a meeting with some old friends in New York. Frank needs Charlie to accompany him to New York for two days but Charlie hesitates and goes in the end.
They arrived at Waldrof-Astoria from a first class air travel. While having dinner at an exclusive luxury restaurant, Frank reveals the goals of this trip  Travel first class,  Eat an agreeable meal at an exclusive restaurant,  Stay at a luxury hotel, Visit his older brother for Thanksgiving,  Make love to a beautiful woman, and finally to blow his brains out. Charlie was stunned to hear what Frank has just said the last sentence.
When Frank pay a surprise visit at his brother's home, W.R. Slade/Willie, things does not look good as it seems. His brother's family is afraid of him and his nephew despises him for being a no good uncle in the family. Charlie also learns from Frank's nephew on how he got his both eyes blind by juggling a grenade.
Charlie and Frank returns to the hotel. Then he told Frank about his trouble in school about Mr. Trask's bribery schemes and George Jr. Frank advises Charlie to take the bribe instead because George Jr. will not remain silence if he is being pressured by his powerful father, George Sr.
Despite being blind, Frank has a sharp sense of conscience to evaluate the trouble and find a solution for Charlie.
I merely state the obvious by saying that Al Pacino is a great actor.
Over the years he has gained great presence and gravitas, and one can
imagine that Chris O'Donnell might have been almost in awe of him.
That relationship could have contributed to the movie. Of course Pacino might have overacted slightly, though who am I to say? He certainly played the part of an army officer, a bit too loud, a little too unforgiving both of himself and his 'carer'.
But then you see a few absolute jewels of scenes, the main one being the dance with the lovely Gabrielle Anwar -- it almost makes the film worth seeing for that alone; I would argue one of the best dance scenes on the silver screen..
And the final part when Frank justifies the boys actions and more-or-less tells the school principal where to get off.. Not too shabby
We leave aside the Oscar and Al Pacino things. This movie is sublime.
This is the kind of drama I wanna watch. I'm saying this because I'm
not much of a drama watcher. I mean, drama is all about drama. Most of
the time it's pretty boring. No feel, excitement, or passion inside.
But this movie here, is entirely different. It brings the actual drama meaning and its capability to amaze audiences. We won't be forced to decide who's the good guy or the bad guy in the end. It's just a simple story which I'm sure happen around us all the time.
There is school, student, blind old man (not your average blind old man though), women (this, we never got bored), part time job, conflict in the family and school. Imagine all of those things combine.
Even if you're not much of a drama fans, I'll suggest you to watch it. I've known this movie for so many years but only have a desire to watch it some time ago which I regret because at first I think it's just a blah-blah drama movie. Turns out I couldn't be more wrong.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK. I admit it. It does undermine you by trying to manipulate your
emotions by having a blind man as a lead character. It's easy to feel
sympathy for a blind man, and for that it does manage to be
manipulating. But it's so adroit with how it is executed I didn't care
in the long run. Despite its manipulative nature, you can't help but
feel sympathy for Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) and
Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) because of their predicaments. I've
seen a few reviewers compare this a bit to Dead Poets Society. That is
true to a certain extent. It does resemble it a little bit, but like
Dead Poets Society, Scent of A Woman manages to trigger major emotions
out of you. Despite a couple of gripes, Al Pacino deserved his Oscar.
He nails it 95% of the time, and gives a powerful performance, which is
unforgettable. His gruff character is very memorable, and his great
chemistry with the young Chris O'Donnell was vital. Their journey was a
joy to watch. My favorite scene with the two of them was the Ferrari
scene. I didn't see the need for the "Hoo-Hah" from Pacino, or some of
the incessant yelling he would do at times. Some scenes called for it,
and others didn't. His performance as a blind man is thoroughly
impressive. He looked like a blind man, and I didn't think it was Al
Pacino. He also has some classic monologue in the ending. It's a very
powerful speech to say the least. I always felt The Godfather was
overrated, so his Oscar here was deserved, and I felt he was better
here, which is most likely a very unpopular opinion, but oh well. Chris
O'Donnell is pretty good for the most part. He does have too much of a
stupid, bewildered look on his face at times, but he has many good
scenes that make up for it. I'm not a fan of his at all, ever since he
was a nuisance as Robin in Batman, but he was good here. Bradley
Whitford does what he does in a lot of roles, play a jerk, whilst
Phillip Seymour Hoffman has a vital part in one of his early roles.
Final Thoughts: It does play on your emotions, but due to Pacino's fantastic performance, and the enjoyable nature of the film, it's hard not to enjoy. See it
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scent of a Woman is a character film study of the very finest. Al Pacino is the ideal man to play Lt. Col. Frank Slade. Pacino's perfect for Slade as Slade's perfect for Pacino. What would this movie have been with any other actor playing the part? Well, not as good, for starters. Al Pacino won his well-earned Oscar for this role. Pacino pours out passion as Col. Slade displaying a deep grief buried beneath his combustible fervor. Pacino exceptionally conveys moods, a master at conjuring emotion only with his presence, no spoken words being necessary. You feel Pacino's all-around performance in Scent of a Woman near as strong as any performance you can think of. Allow me to state that Chris O'Donnell is also perfect to play Charlie; I do believe it to be his only role where this statement is applicable. He stays back, sitting quiet letting Pacino lead, until he is needed and then O'Donnell is brilliant. Chris O'Donnell was impressive and he is a true star. Gabrielle Anwar was very well cast as well. Her role required a lesser known, fresh-faced actress and Anwar is beautiful for the part, she stars, and everybody should be familiar with her name. I love how Scent of a Woman's story is presented. Early on you're made aware that Charlie is to meet in front of the disciplinary committee at his boarding school on whether or not he witnessed his schoolmates pulling a prank on the headmaster who seeks to bribe Charlie with a trip to an Ivy League University for his testimony. But this won't come into play until the very last, thus, allowing us the entire movie to spend focusing on getting to know the blind Col. Slade in he and Charlie's growing relationship. Originally derived and excellently given story. Scent of a Woman messes about in painful drama the whole way through to the end when it then begins hitting heavily with compelling intrigue while during the fabulous courtroom scene. Slade gives a forever memorable, powerful speech on conduct and merit. Scent of a Woman is the lens into a beautiful life, the beautiful life of Lt. Col. Frank Slade. If every movie were as good as Scent of a Woman is, there wouldn't be so many damn bad movies.
The movie wasn't just about Al Pacino's brilliant performance; I also
liked the conversations and the vocabulary the writer used. You know I
used to believe that to know someone you should listen to their silence
rather than their words; it's scientific! You see Light is much faster
than sound, so to see things for what they really are you should
abandon all your senses but the sight. I admit sometimes you hear
someone talk and change your mind about the whole idea...
The movie reminds me the few times in life when you find yourself standing at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a before and an after if you designated that moment as your own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured; would you get the courage to do the right thing regardless how tough it is?.
i completely enjoyed this movie.the most powerful performance i have
ever seen of al-pacino.Film show how powerful actor is he?
he is the central figure of the movie.i usually watch more Hindi movies than English but this movie really touched my heart. Powerful dialogues and outstandingly delivered by Al-pacino. He won Oscar for that and he deserved. THE STORY IS NOT EXTRA-ORDINARY BUT AL-PACINO'S PERFORMANCE MADE IT Lovable MOVIE. A GOOD MOVIE FOR YOUNG GENERATION ACTORS TO LEARN HOW TO ACT? Modern day actors don't have any appeal in their acting.it may be because of lack of good writers now-a-days. whatever is the reason but we cinema lovers are missing such movies and performance now-a-days.
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