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Scent of a Woman
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Poignant, sensitive, emotional, heart raking

Author: Dr Jacques COULARDEAU from Olliergues, France
30 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This one is a masterpiece. First of all because Al Pacino cuts a character he is in no way close to being in real life. He plays a retired lieutenant-colonel which is nothing, but a blind one. His blindness is the symbol, and result, of both a heroic career and a sad end because he was passed over for general. This mixture of so many emotions and feelings and frustrations is marvelously conveyed by the actor. His tone, his behavior, his general stand, his unpredictable reactions, his decision to leave this world and his second decision to stay can be read in the way he speaks, the words he uses, the expressions his blind face carries, his attitudes toward other people, etc. He is a millionaire in emotions. But it is a masterpiece for so many other reasons that I am only going to quote a few. First it is a journey, the journey of a prep school teenager, a student on a scholarship mind you, from Oregon to Cambridge, Massachusetts, then to New York, a round trip with the colonel he is taking care of for the Thanksgiving long week end. This journey, and particularly the lap to New York and the subsequent events, are an initiation. The young chap is to learn what principles are in life and that you have to stand by them, especially if you are poor and fragile in body and social status: then be strong in soul and mind and spirit. Your ethics are your only asset and power in life. He also has to learn how to understand his colonel companion and feel when he has decided to send him buy cigars while he is putting an end to his life and the gun loaded with his bullets are an impressive key to the solitary tower of growing up with death in front of you. He saves that man with a crazy idea of a ride, for a blind man, to drive a Ferrari in the Bronx or somewhere under the Brooklyn Bridge, and with all the frills of such a ride including the cop who catches him speeding but does not realize he is talking to a blind man. But this film is also a film about the elite education these Ivy League prep schools provide the young men of today with to prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow. There I will not hint too much at that side of the story. Let's say an act of vandalism which is a student prank and nothing more, leads the headmaster into menacing the two student witnesses (our poor one and a rich kid) with the worst punishment going as far as trying to buy the cooperation of the poor student. The final disciplinary hearing is absurd in its logic. The three culprits go through because there is no clear cut witness, the rich one, with his father, pretends he did not have his contacts on but gives the three names with a maybe, and the poor one, Charlie by the way, refuses point blank to be a fink, a stool pigeon. And there the intervention of his would-be-and-could-have-been-suicidee colonel saves the day. That you will have to find out by yourself. In many ways it is a lot stronger than the Dead Poets Society and the drama is avoided. It is better because it is the vision of a poor scholarship student and not the vision of one rich kid, in recent society and not in the 1920s or so. The point of view makes it a lot more powerful about society and courage, even if less dramatic as for the relations between the rich kid and his father. The loser all along is the headmaster who did not know how to recognize a prank and over-estimated it into an act of vandalism. Yes that kind of repressive attitude produces soul cripples and there is no prosthesis for that type of amputation.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: krystianbefree from Poland
29 September 2009

This is the best performance by Al Pacino. He made an extraordinary character, a blind Colonel Frank Slade (war veteran) who is sad and lonely man before he met young Charlie a Baird student. They both created something special. Unique connection between innocent teen and damaged adult. In time they learn from each other and become friends, sharing their problems. "Scent of a Woman" is very profound and full of beautiful scenes. For example when Al Pacino is dancing tango with gorgeous girl or driving Ferrari in the New York. The blind man needs a guide in life like a teenager needs support in his school. Amazing speech about twisted reality where we live, where we must choose our destiny. This movie is truly worth watching and it will give you hope. It also gives me a strength to live on, not give up and just be myself. I love movies. There is only one film like this and in my opinion it is a classic. Remarkable art and deep dialogues make this movie a top one.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Generation Gap Of Values

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
20 March 2008

In Scent of a Woman Young Chris O'Donnell at the Baird Prep School on a scholarship, has to earn the money he needs for a round-trip back to Oregon to see his family at Christmas break. He takes a job posting off a bulletin board at school advertising for a companion to a blind man. The blind man turns out to be Al Pacino whose sister and her family want to unload him so they can go away for Thanksgiving.

Pacino is no helpless invalid however. He's a former lieutenant colonel in the army and used to being obeyed on command. But he's facing a crisis in his life, he's just tired of being an invalid and dependent on people.

O'Donnell's having a crisis too. Headmaster James Rebhorn feels he and another student, Philip Seymour Hoffman, saw an act of vandalism committed on the school grounds. It goes against O'Donnell's grain to be an informant. But these other kids, Hoffman included come from old money and can buy their way out of most things. If the ax has to fall as Pacino tells him, it's going to fall his way.

The film is a touching story involving a generation gap of values that is bridged when Pacino and O'Donnell discover a genuine respect and affection for each other. Pacino's iconoclastic retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade finally won for him an Oscar for Best Actor that his peers had not voted him, despite being nominated 7 previous times in both the lead and supporting categories. In fact that same year Pacino was also up in the Supporting Actor category for Glengarry Glen Ross.

Chris O'Donnell had a breakout performance as the young preppie who has far more integrity than his richer and more privileged classmates. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as the kid who rats under the financial umbrella of daddy's millions.

Scent of a Woman is a great part for Al Pacino, not my favorite role for him. That one for me is ....And Justice For All. Still this award like the one given to Paul Newman for The Color of Money is more for Pacino's lifetime of artistic achievement in the cinema. And that's one artistic life anyone could envy.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Pacino Show !!!

Author: getafix-6 from Israel
31 August 2007

One of Pacino greatest performance since dog day afternoon.

anyone who likes the Italian version must see this movie , this version doesn't disappoint at all.

Al Pacino gives another dimension to the character blindness with a little humor and bitterness.

2 thing that bother me is: 1.some flawed acting moment by Chris Od'onnel.

2. The Ambivalence with Pacino character during the start of the movie and how its end.

overall this movie is a must-see for Pacino fans and anyone that love movies.


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Al Pacino's and Chris O'Donnell's best film.

Author: Lukiejames from Seattle, Washington
22 September 2002

Scent Of A Woman is an extremely different film than we have ever seen in film cinema before. It tells the story of a "town drunk" who is blind and also had a great service in the United States. Al Pacino plays the blind man and Chris O'Donnell plays the part of Charley, who is hired to take care of Pacino for a weekend. I found this film humorous in some areas because of the way Pacino's character acts. Al Pacino has never played a character like this before and he executed the part very well! Pacino's eyes are always pointed in the opposite direction he would be looking if he weren't blind, which is brilliant. Scent Of A Woman's mood and setting made this film enchanting in a sense. It took place in a white and gray sky Autumn mood during Thanksgiving weekend. O'Donnell attends an Ivy League school and may or may not have witnessed a scheme that took place that involved humiliating a teacher in front of many students. Pacino's character is more complex than anything else and his character still holds a United States Military mood. Pacino constructs a list of things he wants to do and at the bottom of the list is killing himself. Scent Of A Woman did well at the Academy Awards, FINALLY giving Al Pacino an Oscar. I was very thankful for the "Academy" awarding Pacino an Oscar, but he should have received one a long time ago for The Godfather, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, or Glengarry Glen Ross. Hopefully he will receive another one later on in his career. However, it did not recognize Chris O'Donnell for his fantastic acting in this film, which disappointed me very much. This movie is somewhat emotional as well. I would recommend that you rent this film during Thanksgiving or in the fall. Scent Of A Woman was a very unique,entertaining, wonderful film.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A movie that has a large mixture of everything good!

Author: Sneaky_Pete_XXVII ( from Napanee, Ontario
22 August 2002

"Scent of a Woman" does everything, and has everything that a movie should. With a unique and strange blend of boldness, emotion, cars, booze, women, etc, this movie seems to pull it off perfectly, effectively and with a hint of class. Both Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell do an excellent job of performing as the roles of Lt. Col. Frank Slade and Charles Simms. As if they were born to take those roles, they both seem to slip into the character with complete accuracy. Not only do we see a great blend of fascinating material; but we also see a large amount of versatility in Pacino. We see a person who is both bold and sensitive, angry and supportive, etc, etc. As for O'Donnell, we see a character who's naive and understanding, smart and gentle. What I'm getting at is that "Scent of a woman" is a movie of great excellence and would probably be enjoy by anyone.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Al pacino shines in scent of women!!!

Author: chinaboy from China
30 May 2001

A blind ex-officer Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) goes on a trip to New York city to end his miserable life with a top student Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) who serves as a baby sitter. Their Friendship and affinity are brewing on such a soul- searching trip. Having gone through all the twists and turns, they both find their renewed lives back. The simple plot has nothing to do with the eye-catching title, but Al pacino¡¯s performance really inspiring. Judging from its script, this movie might be nothing but a tedious and even repellent one, but The two protagonists Al pacino and Chris O'Donnell amazingly elevate this low-budget and silly-plotted movie on to one of the classic Al¡¯s masterpieces. Al Pacino again brings his artistic talents into full play by playing the blind officer, who enjoys flirting with girls, tends to speak sentimentally and possesses such an ability to see through others with his sharp eyes that nothing can escape his notice. Al, in this movie, talks Charlie into joining him on the trip, then manages to keep him in company. There are many delicious moments of the movie , among which Tango is no doubt an excellent scene, in which Al shocks me with his fantastic and masterful dancing skill!!! In contrast,Chris O'Donnell gives a fine and competent performance although he by no means matches up well to Al. He is a student with full scholarship. He goes to Al in response to an advertisement for a baby sitter, but only to find Al is the one he needs to care for. At first, Al is knotty and troublesome, but as movie goes on, Al¡¯s true life and past reveals, he becomes aware of the real purpose of his trip.While experiencing ups and downs together, his curiosity about Al grows as his compassion for him develops. He prevents Al from committing a suicide which Al thinks himself is a glorious end. In a sense, he helps Al recollect faith and courage which used to be suffocated by his blindness by an accident in war. In the meantime Chris O'Donnell is caught in trouble back in his school. He is being used as a scapegoat for the trouble made by his wicked fellow classmates. In the end of the movie, he is put on a trial in school. When he is faced with a bitter choice between being expelled and retaining his seat in the prestigious school at the expense of his integrity, Al saves him by showing up and giving a inspirational speech on truth of friendship and importance of life choice. I think car-driving and suicide attempt deserve a second viewing. As a blind car driver, Al shows excitement and calmness about driving in contrast with Chris O'Donnell nervousness. Although in my opinion this suicide attempt seems a little contrived , Al still captures Lieutenant's mentality exactly. The only flaw in the movie is Chris O'Donnell, who could have delivered a much better performance if given a more intelligent script and more room to act emotionally. Finally, the speech by Al in the end is full of wisdom and inspiration. Faced with choice between betrayal and integrity, Charlie hesitates but eventually chooses integrity instead of selling friends. Al defends and protects him by defying the absurd accusations by school authority and convinces them of the truth of friendship and importance of life choice.¡°He has come to the crossroad , he made a choice and he choosed the right path, this boy¡¯s future lies in yours hands, it is a bright future, embrace it , not destroy it, believe me, one day you will be proud of it.¡± Al¡¯s voice is always so real, so convincing, and so reasonably aggressive!! I just enjoy watching and listening to him !!! the movie earns Al an Oscar award for best actor in 1992!!!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Hearted Story

Author: Amsomnia Studios ( from Denmark
21 February 2006

This movie i Thought i would lay out my meanings about. This movie is so special in my heart and so i promise it will in yours also. It is probably the best ever made my Alpacino. Well i cannot really put so many words to it but i shall try. Beautiful,Hearted,Special,Awesome. Hmm it is a little hard to say what this movie means to me but i will say this movie will make you cry and feel a special sensation in your heart. And last i just wanna say you cannot leave this world before you have seen this it is so special that it needs to be seen thats what i think. Alpacino is doing what he does best he plays a blind Man who is taking a trip to new york with a babysitter in some sort but i will not say more

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Performances to Remember and Treasure

Author: gradyharp from United States
8 February 2006

Now and then it is refreshing to turn back time and elect to watch older films of substance, a reminder that there are certain cinematic characters that have become indelible. SCENT OF A WOMAN provided Al Pacino a stage on which to perform a true character, unlike any he had played before, and make it one of those creations that still, 15 years later, evoke a smile and applause.

Blind, acerbic, loudmouthed, irascible Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Pacino) hires preppy, in need of money, Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell) to escort him to New York for a 'final fling'. Charlie has his own issues that depress him, but the two end up having such a grand time in New York that they bond strongly - until Slade dresses for his final moment. The tearful Charlie convinces Slade not to off himself, Charlie's innate character wins Slade's gruff heart, and Slade ends up defending Charlie in an unforgettable prep school 'mock trial'.

The complete manner in which Pacino inhabits this role is a stroke of studied genius: as a blind man his every physical and verbal movements are wholly convincing. There are many fine moments in this film, not the least of which is the famous Tango scene, or the confrontation between Charlie and Slade regarding a suicide plan. Pacino won Best Actor for his role and it is richly deserved. This is a film to cherish. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

For me, more moving than 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Author: landline from United Kingdom
23 September 2005

I just watched this movie again on the TV and have done at intervals of maybe four years since it's release. For the first time it has brought tears to eyes! It's just a beautiful, beautiful film. The performances are superlative, particularly of course from The Maestro, the soundtrack is thoughtfully and expertly mixed (as is the cast) and the interplay between the leads is genuinely heartwarming. Of course, the script and story underpin the work but the premise of adult learning from youth has only been rivalled by 'Rushmore' as far as I'm concerned. It's just lovely : ) Watch it, and when your kids are old enough to understand it make them watch it too.

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