19 user 7 critic

Perfume (2001)

A week in the lives of a group of models, photographers, agents, reporters, publicists and other characters during a wild modeling show in New York City.


Michael Rymer

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From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lysa Apostle Lysa Apostle ... Melissa
Joanne Baron ... Janice Crawford
Morena Baccarin ... Monica
Kylie Bax ... Maitre D'
Angela Bettis ... Wilemina
Heather J. Braden ... Model
Sônia Braga ... Irene Mancini (as Sonia Braga)
D.W. Brown ... Morton
Chemin-Martinez Carroll Chemin-Martinez Carroll ... Posse Member 13
Hunter Carson ... Peter McMichaels
Murielle Arden Murielle Arden ... Heidi (as Murielle Cohen)
Carol Commissiong Carol Commissiong ... Vendela
Sara Conca Sara Conca ... Model #2
Eve Cook Eve Cook ... Model
Coolio ... T


'Perfume' chronicles one week in the lives of over a dozen people involved in the magazine and entertainment business of New York City. The central characters include Italian designer Lorenzo Mancini who learns that he's dying from cancer and decides to get his affairs in order with his wife Irine and his business partner Guido. Lorenzo's son Mario is a recording promoter who's latest client is hip-hop rapper J.B.. Roberta is a designer hard-pressed to fill out a latest dress design for the next Broadway show her group is putting on. Other characters are Jamie, a crafty agent whose latest client, Camille finds success but affects their relationship in ways he never planned and fails to deal with. Leese Hotton is a has-been model/actress trying to make a comeback into the spotlight; Janice Crawford is a wealthy publisher and control freak whose problems escalate with the arrival of her estranged teenage daughter Halley whom Janice abandoned her and everything else for her career years ... Written by Matt Patay

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief nudity | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dress to Kill See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


27 members of the cast had or would go on to appear in the Law & Order (1990) franchise (14 in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) alone), including series stars Mariska Hargitay ("SVU"), Jeff Goldblum (Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001)) and Paul Sorvino (original series). See more »


Guido: Were do you keep the batteries, if you don't mind me asking?
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References The Godfather (1972) See more »


Piano Lounge Lizard
Written by Julia Taylor-Stanley & Ian Lynn
Performed by Julia Taylor-Stanley
Published by Bucks Music Group & Class 52 Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Hems and Hums
7 July 2002 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I avidly pursue these small straight to video films because sometimes you hit gold. Last year, I was rewarded twice with 'Panic' and the delicious '10 Things...' That film resembles this in some ways. But then this resembles so many other projects, most closely Altman's 'Ready to Wear' but done in a 'Best in Show' technique where the actors devise the dialog. I'm very skeptical of that technique because actors just don't have the skills or interests to shape all the dimensions of a project. But they do well enough here to not embarrass and in one case: Sorvino and Gallagher as gentle lovers they do very, very well.

But overall -- except for one major exception -- nothing in the film rises beyond pleasant spacefiller. There are lots of elements that might have been exploited but were not: the design of the eponymous perfume bottle, the state of the adrift daughter, the intelligence of the street designer (indeed, mirroring of one designer's acceptance and ones rejection of damaged children), the entrée to the big time through a sexual initiation and rejection, the drive to style and influence.

The sad thing is the lack of style in the whole project: It lacked any, and this seemed strange: it was as if the whole thing were told through an urchin's eyes.

There is one thing, one sequence, that makes this project worthwhile. As with most modern scripts, there is a self-referential bit. Here, the filmmaker is represented by a photographer who is presented with a promising subject. But she comes attached with 'dialog' that they both feel uncomfortable with. So they forcefully eject those that force these constraints and just ad lib the session. Naturally, that's what Rymer is doing with the film, so this scene is underscored. (The photographer is later rewarded for his intuition.) The importance of these scene is further emphasized by framing the whole film by two other sessions of this photographer -- the first is of him photographing nude women (obviously a nod to the expected exposure of the raw personalities of fashion to come). This is a glam heroin shot that emphasizes the wan 'pain' of the girls. Estella shows up and refuses to participate.

Then at the end, we have the same photographer, on the street, shooting a healthy-looking Estella while the drugaddled daughter walks by in the background. So that scene in the middle where the photographer/filmmaker takes things into his own hands is the soul of the movie. And it is a worthy sequence.

First of all, it features Mariel Hemingway, someone whose mere presence is impressive. The implicit pun on hemming is not beneath the level of allusion here. More powerful is the association with her famous grandfather (who killed himself) and her sister (who also killed herself). That sister made a big splash by endorsing perfume. Mariel is an enormously compelling screen presence, here at 40, and hypnotizingly lovely.

The dialog in this section is wonderful -- that stuff they say when the actual shoot is underway. In the story, that relationship between seer and seen, between designer and human art forms the armature for the whole evening: It is only a couple minutes -- he with his Mighty Mouse, she with her Moody Blues.

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