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Scent of a Woman
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Reviews & Ratings for
Scent of a Woman More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Someone please eliminate this stench

Author: mnpollio from United States
13 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Certainly in the top 10 of the most overrated films ever made. Colorless collegiate Chris O'Donnell gets stuck babysitting volatile,loud-mouthed blind veteran Al Pacino on a trip to NYC. This minimal storyline is unbearably expanded into a meandering, pointless 3-hour dirge of epic proportions. There is a frightfully uninteresting subplot, which provides the film's coda concerning whether O'Donnell should rat out the privileged obnoxious students responsible for vandalizing a snooty professor's car, but given that the students are worthless, the professor boorish and O'Donnell so vacant, it is hard to develop much interest. Instead, the wonder lies in watching Al Pacino (in his worst and only Oscar-winning performance) scream, sputter, gesticulate, cuss, yell "Hooha" after every other line, chew huge chunks out of the NYC scenery and basically provide an atrocious performance that contains no traces of subtlety or introspection for the entire running time. The actor responsible in giving us some of the best acting of the 70s in The Godfather films, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, etc., gets rewarded for his most execrable work? That's Hollywood for you! As the only other cast member of note, O'Donnell lowers his eyes to floor, mumbles his lines and basically allows Pacino to trod all over him. By the climax, when Pacino takes to the stage at O'Donnell's Ivy League School to defend his honor (over a ludicrous issue) and starts cussing and threatening to burn the place down with a flame-thrower, you know the film is utterly worthless because in reality security would have immediately escorted him to a padded cell somewhere. Absolute junk!

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52 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

Al Pacino is excellent in this otherwise unremarkable film

Author: Billy the Kid from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
12 February 2002

For the most part, "Scent of a Woman" is standard Hollywood fare, featuring a "heartwarming" and "uplifting" story about personal growth, the strength of friendship, and the discovery that life really isn't so bad after all. The plot involves a young student (Chris O'Donnell), who agrees to watch over a blind and embittered ex-colonel (Al Pacino) for Thanksgiving weekend. He then goes on to teach the older man a few lessons about life, while learning just as much himself. If this sort of relationship sounds familiar, it is because it has been the subject of countless other films (think "Finding Forrester," for instance). "Scent of a Woman" is at least partially redeemed by the presence a few memorable moments, such as the scenes involving the Tango and the Ferrari.

What really sets this film apart, though, is Al Pacino's brilliant performance. Although he tends to overact on occasion (as in some of his other post-1970s films, such as "Scarface"), he still manages to reveal the complexities of his character in a way that no other actor could have managed. While Chris O'Donnell and James Rebhorn are fine in their roles, it is Al Pacino who gives us a reason to watch this otherwise unremarkable film.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest performances of all time!

Author: mcfcrdfc208 from United Kingdom
7 April 2008

This film is now one of my all time favourites,never before has a film left such a big lump in my throat because of the brilliant and beautiful script,brilliant directing and the sensational and breathtaking acting by Pacino.This for me is pancino's greatest performance ever and one of the best performances off all time beaten only by Robert DE Nero's performance in the deer hunter.Off courses lets not forget the great performance by Chris O'Donnell as school boy Charles which unfortunately will not be remembered simply because pacino's role is so breathtaking and worthy off his Oscar he won,which is proved by his great speech at the end which is 6/7 minutes long and he didn't blink once like blind people and that is a sign off class.

So all in all brilliant & moving film and acting by all.

Grade A 10/10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Life is beautiful

Author: kevin shi ( from ShangHai, China
11 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are many people committed suicide in the world every year. That is definitely a very saddening phenomenon. I know everybody has one's misery. If you cannot think through it, I recommend you to watch this movie.

When I watched Al Pacino elegantly dancing with the girl, my eyes were full of tears. That is the most beautiful scene I ever watched. I have to remind you if you have not watched it, Al was blind. I was deeply touched by the scene. Every time I remind of the scene, I feel that I am so lucky to live in the world (though the present world is not so good).

As to the performance, Al is perfect. He absolutely deserved the Oscar award. You cannot imagine he brought us so many unforgettable roles. Just take a few examples here. A cold blood mafia in Godfather, a fearless cop in Heat, a righteous reporter in The insider. Frankly speaking, if I was the Oscar judge, I will award him more little gold men.

I always think that what we can get from a movie is not just entertainment. I really believe that a great movie can change your life. SOAW is just the one. 9/10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Best movie I have seen for a long while

Author: info-209 from Pretoria, South Africa
20 July 2000

The tango scene is truly memorable. One of my favorite movie scenes of all movies. Al Pacino plays the part excellently and Gabrielle Anwar is spectacular. It is a pity that her part was so minor with regards the rest of the movie.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
18 February 2007

Prep school lad takes weekend job looking after blind, hard-bitten former Army Colonel, who is on a personal mission of self-destruction. Adapted from the Giovanni Arpino novel and 1974 Italian film "Profumo Di Donna", this overlong picture directed by Martin Brest is unrestrained, overreaching, and ham-fisted. Filmed in autumnal colors (brackish reds and browns), it doesn't even look good. Oscar-winner Al Pacino chews the scenery in inelegant fashion--there are few highlights to his overall performance because Pacino treats every scene as a show-shopper. Chris O'Donnell is easier to take as his teenage charge, yet the screenplay is obnoxious and continually prods us for a response with 'darkly comic' histrionics. ** from ****

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Is this a comedy?

Author: Jeremy Barger ( from Ohio, United States
23 April 1999

Why am I not surprised that the Oscars honored this film? It's a bad movie, with only one grace that I could tell. It is pretty funny. Some of the funny parts are on purpose, and some of them are products of bad cinema. Watching a blind man drive down city streets at high speeds reminded me of the Naked Gun movies. Those movies knew how silly they were, because they did it on purpose. The pathetic thing about Scent of a Woman is they probably had no idea how idiotic they were being. And can someone please explain to me why all of the over-rated movies in this world are too long? Are you trying to put us to sleep or make us slit our wrists? Bad film.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A token gesture for Pacino.

Author: movie-monster from United Kingdom
22 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Al Pacino is undoubtedly one of the finest actors of his generation and his performance as retired Army Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman, finally earned him his long overdue Academy Award for Best Actor, however, in my opinion, it is far from his greatest role, though it is certainly a memorable one.

My problem with this film is that for me it's an example of Pacino's dominating screen presence preserving a movie that would otherwise have been mediocre at best. The basic premise of the film is fairly dull. A young prep student called Charlie takes a job aiding a blind, lonely, retired colonel over thanksgiving weekend. The weekend turns out to be considerably more eventful than he anticipated, with the Colonel taking him first class to New York for one final bourbon-soaked hurrah, before intending to end his own life. When they head out to the city I expected there to be some good and perhaps amusing scenes where these two completely mismatched characters, one bitter, world weary and cynical, the other innocent, and naive, really get at one another and, to be fair, there are a couple of excellent moments. The tango scene, in which the Colonel dances with a complete stranger, in a classy New York restaurant is truly captivating, and another where he and Charlie test drive a Ferrari around some Brooklyn back-streets is also entertaining, however if a blind man were to drive and drift a Ferrari at over 70mph in real life, there would likely be some very severe consequences. These moments are few and far between however, and with a runtime of 2 ½ hours, the film does begin to drag.

Al Pacino has faced up to, and bettered, some outstanding actors in his career (think Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco, or even De Niro in Heat), but casting him alongside Chris O'Donnell was a big mistake. It's the cinematic equivalent of feeding a lamb to a T-Rex. Pacino simply devours him in every scene; he literally walks all over him. O'Donnell's (non) performance as Charlie is just flat, bland, empty, clichéd and tepid to the point of irritation, and pretty much undermines everything good Pacino brings to the film.

Visually, Pacino does an excellent impression of a blind man, to the point where many characters in the film understandably, and believably, don't even notice. Admittedly, he isn't given the best script to work with but he still manages a couple of excellent monologues, most notably in one of the final scenes of the film, which brings me on to another failing of this picture.

The subplot, which involves Charlie facing expulsion, as a result of refusing to grass up his peers over a particularly spectacular prank involving the headmaster, just seemed trivial and insignificant, and completely undeserving of Pacino's glorious tirade about integrity, and 'facing the music' which should have really been a highlight of the film. You watch this scene, admire it, and realise there was far too little of it in the preceding 2 hours.

In conclusion, had Pacino not received the Oscar for Best Actor at some point in his career it would have been a travesty and an outrage, it's just unfortunate he received it for this role. He was so much better as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, or as ex-con anti-hero Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, or even as the overbearing, scenery- chewing, crack snorting gangster icon Tony Montana in Scarface. These are the roles I remember him by, and more importantly, they are vastly superior pieces of Cinema. Scent of a Woman, by comparison, is a mess. The plot is uninspired and boring, the script weak, the characters stereotypical. I've often felt that Al Pacino has an uncanny ability to make poor films average, and average films brilliant, and the former is certainly the case here. The film Two for the Money is another great example of this. A film about sports bettors with Matthew McConaughey that would have certainly been diabolical, and possibly never even released, were it not for Pacino's participation. His somehow makes it watchable... perhaps even.......interesting. Those who are new to his work (I envy you); please watch the other great films I mentioned above, before resorting to this. Disregard the Oscar. His ability to draw you into a scene and light up a film, or even just one casual line of dialogue, makes him the greatest actor of his generation, and consequently, my favourite actor of all time. It's for this reason ONLY that I give this film the 6 stars that it probably doesn't deserve.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Al Pacino is splendid

Author: Ru Sil
10 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Few characters in cinema history are so well defined, so memorable and fascinating as Col. Frank Slade, miraculously played by Al Pacino. Slade broke my heart, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I hate "three-hankys" and overly sentimental "chick flicks", so I kept avoiding "Scent of a Woman". When I've finally watched it recently, it didn't strike me as a "chick flick" though. Pacino's performance really moved me. He never lets the story slip into cheap sentimentalism, because his character is heart-wrenchingly real.

C. O'Donnel is bland and uninteresting, but that's the way it was meant for his character to be. He's only a catalyst for Slade, a blank book waiting to be written. After all, he's just a 17 year-old.

I love it when Hollywood is sending out a positive, moral message, even if the delivery is flawed. The ending of "Scent of a Woman" kinda spoils the story's realism, but nothing can diminish Pacino's brilliant performance.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Scent of a Woman (1992) - Whoo-Ah! Whoo-Ah!

Author: nickmesafilms ( from United States
8 May 2012

Adapted from the Italian film version from Giovanni Arpino, "Scent of a Woman" tells the story of Chris O'Donnell as a preparatory student, who takes a weekend job, taking care of a blind, medically retired Army officer, portrayed brilliantly by Al Pacino, scoring his first ever Oscar win for Best Actor. Director Martin Brest and screenwriter Bo Goldman has perfectly made a visionary portrait of life, hope, friendship, and honesty. When I first started watching, I immediately realized that this movie was better than I thought it would be. I was drawn into the clever well-written dialogue from Bo Goldman, and the stand-out performances from the entire cast. But the shining cast member is Al Pacino, delivering one of the greatest performances of his career, that rightfully deserves his Best Actor Oscar. Although sadly, this is the only award he has won in his entire career, his award win will finally make others realize how excellent an actor Pacino is. But besides Pacino and O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar, and a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, round up the supporting cast with some clever, if necessary, performances. Delivered with some powerful sequences, provided with some beautiful directing, wonderful writing, and insanely wonderful music, "Scent of a Woman" is one of the many masterpieces of Al Pacino's career. Although the 157-minute run time seemed to drag a bit, with some scenes that needed to be in the movie or not, that were just sort of stuck, that didn't ruin the movie's true potential, luckily. Since 1992 was considered the year of the woman, "Scent of a Woman" might not have been a movie that was all about women, but it does share a wonderful and beautifully made tale, through the case of an insanely enjoyable motion picture. "Scent of a Woman", in my review, "immensing and groundbreaking, Pacino is brilliant".

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