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Scent of a Woman
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Scent of a Woman More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Film For The Lonely

Author: Docterry from New York, NY
24 June 2002

There's something about this film that keeps you company. It's like you're also spending the weekend with Colonel Slade. The film entertains your darkest notions and tops your depth of grief and then somehow elevates you to find hope amidst our consciously blind existence.

At first I had a problem with Pacino's performance. I thought Al was definitely over-acting. He's playing a man who is consciously suicidal, a man suffering the loss of his dependence. He seems preoccupied in fulfilling a sexual desire but what he really yearns for is the acceptance of a woman now that he's been injured. However, even beyond his glorified apparition of woman what he presently needs is someone, anyone who will listen. He needs someone he can bark orders at like in the past. Some babe in the woods he can bemuse and corrupt amidst the decadence of `Freak Show Central', his personal nickname for New York City. In this contrived situation he finds life again and with these considerations Pacino's bravura performance is forgivable.

Pacino ironically switches energies with O'Donnell's character being the Colonel's high energy defuses Charlie's depressed low energy. The Colonel is psyched for his weekend's desperate romp, `A little tour of pleasures', he says. Given this distinction in performances, Charlie should have been the suicidal one, the defeated one because O'Donnell walks around this film like a deer caught in the headlights and there really isn't anything inspiring or motivating about him. It would have been an awesome acting exercise to have a young actor go against Pacino and realistically attempt to change his character's suicidal mission, granted his whole outlook on life yet what we have is a quick resolution that is very intense but not very intellectual.

In the end, this movie somehow manages to conduct all it's emotional payoffs thus rendering the viewer at the mercy of what may seem bathos. Many have criticized the film as negotiating Hollywood Plot A with Plot B or C. However, the Colonel realizes his biggest failure in life was in his interpersonal relationships. He learns that sometimes having friends can be a stronger and more important bond than family- a point well taken. Sometimes when a film comes together, after all the pre and post production, the result can be undeniably charming and this film manages to soar above its foundations, those manifested in the most basic of premises of melodrama. `Scent Of A Woman' does inevitably work and it's a very heart-warming 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:

People like it less when time flows by

Author: zhongzl-kelley2014 from China
23 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maybe you can detect the downward sloping trend in the reviews from 1999 to 2007 here. A few years later, people will view this piece as a relic and open it only for academic purposes. That's right, this is a classic, but time can easily wash away the cheap spirit embodied in this film. Therefore I might be the last one to comment on this outdated film here. But to pay my respect for the wealth and effort that was squandered on this production, and my laborious 2 hours straining myself from smashing the screen, I'll write something anyway.

The reviews render Al Pacino's acting worthy of an Oscar, but I have to argue otherwise. Sometimes the stress of the sentence sounds strange, like he suddenly remembered the next word is the point he roared, so he jumped abruptly from a chastising to a explosion, leaving the audience perplexed and uncomfortable. Someone says he is passionate, sometimes he forget the boundary between Lt. Slade and himself. That is a highest accolade invented for actors, because only the VIP class actors can walk in and out characters' inner world with ease. And I won't deny the sense of sincerity that sometimes drifts out casually, Al Pacino should take the credit for this, but he doesn't deserve the Oscar because his talent is blocked by a braggart screenplay writer.

The movie was a product of 1992, we should respect flaws in the technique of camera angles and editing the way we respect a old man for walking slow and saying gibberish. But the huge paragraphs in the scene in which Lt. Slade contradicts the headmaster about his decision to expel Charles, I think the whole paragraph about right path wrong path can be spared, because it sounds like an old men's annoyingly didactic speech. His fury suits perfectly in the plot, but the effect will definitely be more stunning if he didn't go on and on for 1500 words. I wanted to cry in my palm, because according to a ancient movie theory, it you take out all the fantastic lines, the movie is still tasty, then it's a good movie. A Scent of Woman without all the breath-drawing lines is more barren than a dessert, which is why it deserves to be left in the dust and wither in time.

I'll recommend this movie to my uncle who is going through a mid-life crisis, but definitely not to anyone who still believe in hope, love, future and dream. If you are a shallow person that has faith in lust and pompous bragging and empty shell of wealth, this is the movie to go. I believe it's your fault if all your family hate you and seem embarrassed when you show up, Lieutenant, and I believe it's your fault if you are trying to shoot yourself knowing it will jeopardize a sweet boy that pity you and take care of you all the way. The police will doubt if Charles murder you for your wealth, and that still can't explain why you has a grasp on so huge amount of money to enjoy such luxury. A good man would give the money to the Rosie's for they live such a humble life with you sitting on hundreds of bucks and Mrs, Rosie still firmly believe that you are "sweet in the heart." Shame on you, Lieutenant.

It's not a good movie for Saturday night's fun, but it's a great movie to gnaw your fingers at because it's your weekend assignment, and scratch a few words about and get it over with. I must mourn for my precious 2 hours, for I could have watched Schindler's List with it.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Arise...Mr. Pacino...Take a Bow

Author: werefox08 from Australia
9 March 2013

After 7 previous Oscar nominations i suppose The Academy thought it was Al Pacinos turn. (it works---a lot---like that). However, Al did deserve this one for a really great performance in this average movie. After the first 15 minutes ....the rest was VERY predictable. Without the Pacino performance...this would have sunk like a stone. Al stamps his authority over the poor schmuck who has come to "look after" him (he is a blind ex army colonel) for a weekend...and in doing so...makes this movie, a one man show. Oh ..there are tiny sub-plots and some humour here and there, but when Pacino is in frame (90% of the time) we all stand to attention. Al Pacino is one of the truly great movie actors, and i was in awe of him here. I cant remember this guy giving an average performance.

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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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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: Chris L from France
5 September 2013

Even if Al Pacino's performance is far from perfect — he sometimes overacts a bit though it is mainly due to his character —, without him, Scent of a Woman would have been a complete flop because, indeed, the script never manages to arouse a real interest, the quality scenes can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the endless dialogues and the lack of rhythm are as crippling as the totally linear direction based on shot/reverse shot. Moreover, the movie relies a lot on melodrama which is annoying and turns out to be counter-productive in relation to the alleged sincerity the story is b, as evidenced by the very corny happy ending.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

What a crappy, boring movie

Author: Nick Damian from Toronto, Ontario
21 August 2009

Wow, it's boring, slow, mundane and uninteresting.

What else is there to say? Maybe it's just me - but I feel that Al Pacino should be pretty much given gangster roles or edgy roles...not roles with preppy kids, trying to explain life to them.

It's overdone monologue which means to protect the dignity of a honour student over some trivial event expands into something so ludicrous that you would think you are watching a serious courtroom drama with something so insanely intense that somebody's life is at stake - while in reality, it's some preppy kid who may or may not have some some idiotic prank.

Big EFFIN deal! Overblown on all counts with nothing to hold it together.

I'm waiting for his return as a gunslinging gangster causing carnage and snorting huge amounts of drugs.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Standard Hollywood Sentiment

Author: bas rutten from Eindhoven, the Netherlands
6 February 2003

In spite of the good acting, especially by Mr. Pacino (has he ever delivered a poor acting job?) I can't possibly say that I found "Scent of a Woman" a good movie. The story isn't bad, and there definitely are some very good moments, but about halfway through the novelty wears off, and what's left is a predictable and somewhat sentimental Hollywood vehicle, in the vein of "A Beautiful Mind" or the "English Patient".

The largest problem is that it's all terribly overdone: the movie keeps stressing and stressing how blind and depressed Al Pacino's character is and how great he used to be, leading to some pretty ridiculous scenes of a blind man driving a car and an quite ludicruous speech in which Al basically says it's OK to lie and cover things up. It's all so exaggerated: they keep stressing why it's supposed to be touching and it just gets annoying. After a while I just waiting for the movie to end: it had made it's point but it kept going on and on and on. I was glad when it was finally over.

** out of *** stars (mainly since it's acted very well).

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Charming and bland

Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
13 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Heartwarming cheap cinema, an artless remake of an Italian rather merciless comedy, 'Scent …' is standard Hollywood fare, undistinguished as artistry—and immensely charming, rousing, engrossing—yeah, I mean that tango scene, and Pacino in one of his maniacal dispositions.

'Scent …' boasts worthy leftovers from the original script, and a lead doing a role that is, to Gassman's original, what Pacino's villain in 'Dick Tracy' is to Jago—or even to Richard III.

Everything shocking in the Gassman original was tamed, the point of that movie was missed, perhaps deliberately, or failing to interest the American filmmakers, and the Pacino remake's tone is bland; the Gassman movie was fun, the Pacino one is charming and enjoyable, though bland. Masturbation jokes are a trademark of the Italian movies—they are still in 'Maléna'. Nothing left in the American rendering. The Italian original is a bitter comedy, breathtakingly reasonable and grounded, good—sensed, intensely sad, and benefiting from a somewhat better actor—anyway, one from a wholly different acting tradition or school. The Hollywoodian remake is a bit stained by blandness, a certain childishness.

My writing on this site has become somewhat loose and careless—not to mention unduly self—referential—for which there's no better apology than improvement, the restoration of a more impersonal shape, and of a tauter style.

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