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

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

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

10/10
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!

10/10
Author: Sneaky_Pete_XXVII (sarimos@hotmail.com) 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:

Oscar bait that was caught

6/10
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
25 March 2014

The fact that Martin Brest's Scent of a Woman awarded Al Pacino his first and only Oscar to date is a fact that satisfies and infuriates simultaneously. It's nice to see an immensely talented actor finally get his due from Hollywood, however, it's upsetting to see it's for a film that largely pales in comparison to Pacino's other pictures such as The Godfather trilogy and Scarface and a performance that doesn't hold a candle to the ones he gave in the aforementioned films.

It's bizarre out of the library of terrific Pacino performances we've been so grateful to see over the years, the Academy recognizes one that is good at the same time all over the place and inconsistent, even though it's one of the best inconsistent performances I have yet to see. The film centers around Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a student at a prestigious New England prep school who is assigned to look after a retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel named Frank Slade (Al Pacino). Frank is a blind man, often loud, frequently outspoken, loves his drinks, and feels completely entitled to speak his mind whenever he feels like it. It is only a screen writing obligation that these two will embark on some life-altering adventures and find ways to open up to each other in ways they never foresaw.

Scent of a Woman's writer Bo Goldman pulls no punches whatsoever, for this is a straight-forward drama about companionship and loss with little to no presence of deeper meaning or multilayered storytelling. Not every film needs to be heavy on symbology or even multilayered, but when a story is a sometimes merciless one-hundred and fifty-three minutes, one hopes that at some point a line is drawn and deeper, rawer human emotions surface or some other facet pops up to reveal another layer.

But sadly there isn't one, and because of that, Scent of a Woman flounders because of how basic it is. We see young Charlie leave a lasting impact on Frank and Frank leave an impact on Charlie, which as cute as it is sometimes, can also be dreadfully boring, especially for such a lengthy amount of time. This is one-hundred and five minutes of material stretched out forty-eight minutes longer and occasionally finds itself going in circles over material and events it has just covered.

When it comes down to the chemistry between Pacino and O'Donnell, it's uniformly solid. Both actors have a believable sense of friendship in the film, especially during scenes like the one at the dinner table, the one when Charlie allows Frank to drive a Ferrari down an unpopulated alleyway, or when Frank sticks up for Charlie in the end of the film. Both men are believable as friends and work well as an on-screen duo.

With that being said, Pacino's performance still finds itself registering all over the place and having issues setting up a clear tone throughout the film. Frank will be calm and collective on some occasions mirroring the likes of mentally unstable on other occasions. Some scenes, Frank will be shouting at the top of his lungs, others, he'll be barely cracking a whisper. This is the performance that won Pacino the Oscar, mind you - not the subtleties he presented as Michael Corleone, not the brash assertiveness he exerted as Tony Montana, but the up-and-down tendencies he brought to the table in Scent of a Woman. While this is by no means a bad performance (and definitely shows its effectiveness by the end, with Frank in the courtroom scene), it still isn't the kind of performance one would see Pacino winning, especially with his already exceptional résumé.

Furthermore, it's worth noting that the presence of Thomas Newman's turgid score that needs to emphasize every emotional instance in the film gets to be insufferable to say the least. Newman's score chimes in and plays precisely the kind of tune you expect to hear during scenes of conflict, happiness, joy, and sorrow with absolutely no subtly whatsoever. Then there's the courtroom scene that concludes the film, which feels extracted from a completely separate film.

When you have a film that already overextends itself in its groggy runtime, presents a performance that is, for the lack of a better term, all over the place, and a score that leaves no ambiguity, Scent of a Woman almost seems down and out accept for the fact that it does present a well-orchestrated human interest story and how companionship is one of the fundamentals to a good life. Regardless of how long, occasionally tiresome, and overblown the film can be, it still possesses a delightful focus on character over plot, which I always admire.

The film comes from Martin Brest, an underrated director known for his action comedies such as the exciting Beverly Hills Cop, the hilarious and too-often enthralling Midnight Run, and the unfairly bashed Gigli, which ostensibly crippled his career (Brest hasn't directed since its release in 2003). Brest's usual investment with character relationships is present but absent this time around are his action set pieces, which provide a nice addition of variety in Brest's short but sweet filmography.

Scent of a Woman reminds me quite a bit of Dead Poets Society for more reasons than it deals with a prep school. Both films have a cloying obviousness to their writing and directing, making their themes completely heavy, and staging their emotional sequences as if they were the most powerful to ever exist. The film works best when it is underplaying its central ideas, focusing on more abstract scenes like the key scene here, which involves Frank on a plane fondly recalling the beautiful qualities of a woman, detailing the scent of her hair, the feel of her lips, the texture of her breasts, etc. It's a beautiful scene - Scent of a Woman needed more of those.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Hearted Story

10/10
Author: Amsomnia Studios (lerkim@gmail.com) 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

10/10
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'

10/10
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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A blind man with a perfect Vision

10/10
Author: iamnobody from India
12 August 2005

Al Pacino at his best. Never seen a better drama that this. The background music is wonderful and the sentiment flows through out the movie. Charlie simms the ideal student with excellent integrity has some trouble going on in the university. He has to work in the weekends , find a part time job for his livelihood. He is a merit student and is excellent with his academics. To his dismay(initially) his weekend job turns out to be more adventurous than he could ever imagine. With his troubles already at peak in the university, his adventure turns out to be learning lesson for him and also to the person who is none other than Al Pacino(blind retired army officer). The whole movie glitters with exuberance. The last 30 mins are quite remarkable and to be honest the heart of the movie especially the climax scene. To be frank i saw the climax about 20 odd times :) and i dare say that every man on the earth will like it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Pacino's brilliant Oscar winner!

Author: Elizabeth (endofroad2@aol.com) from NY
29 January 2002

Al Pacino gives one of his best performances as Col. Frank Slade, a blind man who just exists after a drunken accident caused his blindness. Chris O'Donnell is also great as student Charlie Simms, who agrees to be a sort of guardian to Slade during the holidays in order to raise some money. The relationship that develops between the two men is, in my opinion, one of the most memorable in film history.

Everyone remembers certain scenes (the tango scene, Colonel Slade driving, etc.), but the rest of the movie is also fantastic. This is a must-see movie for every film fan. I give "Scent of a Woman" a 10 out of 10!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Nowadays, it's hard to believe that this was directed by the same guy who did "Gigli".

8/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
11 October 2005

After twenty years as an A-list star, Al Pacino took home an Oscar for his role in "Scent of a Woman". He plays blind Lt. Col. Frank Slade, who talks like he's ready to tear your throat apart, but has a heart of gold. Sound like a cliché? Well it's not. "Scent of a Woman" succeeds where so many movies have failed, probably because Al Pacino is in the lead role (almost anyone else very likely would have turned the character into a maudlin dweeb).

Anyway, the story has college student Charlie Sims (Chris O'Donnell) agreeing to be a caretaker for Col. Slade, and the colonel takes Charlie on an adventure that he'll never forget. Along the way, a rather unusual event happens at Charlie's college (that scene will most likely make you at least giggle if not break out into laughter), and the colonel sees no choice but to get involved.

Among other things, this movie has a number of people who weren't yet famous but would make their marks in later years: Philip Seymour Hoffman as Charlie's friend George, James Rebhorn as the dean, and even Frances Conroy several years before "Six Feet Under". "Scent of a Woman" is like a breath of fresh air in the stench of so many lousy movies. Which brings us to the question: why did director Martin Brest have to direct that god-awful "Gigli"?

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