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Scent of a Woman (1992)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 5

It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.

67

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 3

It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 117,485

My Rating

Movie Info

Driven by an extravagant, tour-de-force performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is the story of Frank Slade (Pacino), a blind, retired army colonel who hires Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a poor college student on the verge of expulsion, to take care of him over Thanksgiving weekend. At the beginning of the weekend, Frank takes Charlie to New York, where he reveals to the student that he intends to visit his family, have a few terrific meals, sleep with a beautiful woman and, finally,

R,

Drama

Apr 28, 1998

Universal Pictures

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July 21, 2005:
In Other News...Rose McGowan, Al Pacino, Daryl Hannah, and James Doohan
Ah, Tinseltown romances. Rumor has it there's a new hot couple in town, and they're bound to give...

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (5) | DVD (9)

An irascible bully who proves to have a heart of gold, Pacino's character seems manufactured by a computer programmed with box-office grosses.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scent of a Woman indulgently stretches a modest conceit well past the breaking point.

May 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Corny and heart-warming, with O'Donnell proving almost a match for the master.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The good thing is that the principals and film makers make the absolute most of a conventional opportunity.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the end of Scent of a Woman, we have arrived at the usual conclusion of the coming-of-age movie, and the usual conclusion of the prep school movie. But rarely have we been taken there with so much intelligence and skill.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a great performance from Pacino, who has the good luck here to work with Goldman's mostly wonderful, edgy script.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thanks to a landmark performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is an agreeably watchable film. If they'd made it half an hour shorter and re-written the ending, it could have been a great one.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Pacino manages to shift smoothly from comedy to pathos, making the antipathetic character seem fascinating.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

While fairly predictable and unoriginal, it is nevertheless entertaining.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Pacino's intense performance best for older teens.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The guiding principle of Al Pacino's flamboyant performance (for which he finally received the Oscar) is that of revelation: Every scene discloses another facet of his mysterious, multi-shaded character.

November 29, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A great character-driven movie starring two well-rounded characters, a fun performance by Pacino, deft directing, a complementary score and plenty of human interest all the way around.

March 5, 2005 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Al Pacino got his ribbing for 'hoo-ahhh!'ing his way through Scent of a Woman, but underneath the scenery chewing, there's a sweet and watchable film to be seen.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Brilliant performances, spotty script, poor ending.

July 16, 2004 | Comments (2)
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Volcanic Pacino performance, but the drama drags

January 11, 2004 | Comment (1)
Kalamazoo Gazette

Goldman's screenplay never becomes a complete disaster, thanks to the vastly interesting and original character of Frank.

January 1, 2004 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Great drama. Pacino rules, but O'Donnell holds his own.

August 13, 2003
About.com

A memorable drama about a young man's initiation into adluthood.

July 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This is one of the best films of last year.

March 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A masterful performance by Pacino.

January 6, 2003
Needcoffee.com

Shameless Oscar-Bid movie.

November 25, 2002 | Comment (1)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Scent of a Woman

Al Pacino is magic in this film. You can't take his eyes of him. Added to this, the film is moving and carries an important message. It is a satisfying, uplifting, triumphant film that must be watched!
June 8, 2014
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

When things get tangled, tango on!

Great Film! The Scent of a Woman is the kind of film that many would think belongs to a bygone era. While it is frank and contemporary without sugar coating it illustrates the value of character over glitz and how small acts can have long lasting consequences. The Scent of a Woman is very satisfying on many levels. Of course the primary reason it succeeds is Al Pacino, whose Oscar was well-deserved, needless to say. Chris O'Donnell doesn't overplay his part, and in doing so is realistic and natural. The character development is superb, dialogue terrific, glamorous locations and a story line that requires the characters to show themselves to be the people they really are. The film has a lot of funny lines and great drama.

Frank is a retired Lt Col in the US army. He's blind and impossible to get along with. Charlie is at school and is looking forward to going to university; to help pay for a trip home for Christmas, he agrees to look after Frank over thanksgiving. Frank's niece says this will be easy money, but she didn't reckon on Frank spending his thanksgiving in New York.
March 6, 2014
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Al Pacino is one of the most respected and talented actors in the history of filmmaking. So why did it take him over 20 years in the business before he finally got his hands on one of those golden little baldies, that go by the name of Oscar? It's a question that will confound many but at least now, with this performance in 1992, it probably, proudly, rests on his mantelpiece.
In order to make some money for a Christmas trip home, impoverished college-student Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) agrees to look after Frank (Al Pacino), a blind retired Colonel for Thanksgiving. Babysitting takes on a whole new dimension when Frank decides he wants to spent the weekend living it up in New York City.
At the time of this films release Pacino had had 4 nominations for Best Actor and 3 nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He had produced such sterling work in classic films like "The Godfather", "Serpico", "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Scarface". This is only a few in a long list but, finally, no-one could argue with his bravura portrayal of a blind, hard drinking, ex-Army colonel. This isn't the type of film you'd tip for Pacino receiving an award but it's a performance that can't be ignored. Yes, grandstanding does ensue, but hey! It's Pacino, he's allowed. There's an unsettling intensity to his performance that's so powerful, it's hard to take your eyes off him. Ironically, he plays a blind man but his performance allows the audience to see. To see, what an actor can encapsulate. The film itself is a tad lighthearted and despite being overshadowed considerably, a young Chris O'Donnell handles himself well in such company. But it feels like the story itself is only a vehicle, or series of scenes, in which to allow Al to chew up. It's enjoyable stuff nonetheless and at a running time of 2hrs 30mins, you wouldn't know. The time flies by as it's so much fun. A major demerit is the Hollywood perfect, rousing, finale though. The schmaltz factor goes through the roof, leaving you feeling a bit embarrassed at the audacity in even attempting it and it seriously sells the film short.
If I was to rate this based on Pacino's performance, it would be an unquestionable 5 stars. It's one of his finest. However, the flimsy material brings the film down a notch.
February 21, 2012
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

Very good movie. Give this man a oscar... Yeah you should have before to... And I would like to take some time to acknowledge Chris O'Donnell as well. Cause he did a damn fine job. I'm not gonna say I can relate to blindness... Cause I can't. But being blind is among the highest things on the list of things I don't wanna be. So it speaks to me. It must be hell... Well...it was a good script and well executed. Thank you for your time
February 6, 2012
TheGame90
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Scent of a Woman

    1. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Something big may happen for that little thing of yours Charlie
    – Submitted by Brendan C (17 months ago)
    1. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: [Frank plans to kill himself and Charlie as well but hesitates] You don't wanna die.
    2. Charlie Simms: Neither do you.
    3. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Give me one good reason not to.
    4. Charlie Simms: I'll give you two. You can dance the tango and drive a Ferrari better than anyone I've ever seen.
    5. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: You never seen anyone do either.
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Charlie Simms: So give up. You wanna give up? Give up 'cause I'm giving giving up too. You said I'm through you're right I *am* through. It's all over. So let's get on with it. Let's fuckin' do it! Fuckin' pull the trigger you miserable blind motherfucker. Pull the trigger.
    2. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Here we go Charlie.
    3. Charlie Simms: I'm ready.
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: What Life? I got no life! I'm in the dark here. You understand? I'm in the dark!
    – Submitted by Jase H (19 months ago)
    1. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Are you listening to me, son? I'm givin' you pearls here.
    – Submitted by jaswant r (20 months ago)
    1. Lt. Col. Frank Slade: - Out of order, I'll show you out of order! You don't know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I'd show you, but I'm too old, I'm too tired, I'm too fuckin' blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do you think you're talkin' to? I've been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn't nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that. You think you're merely sending this splendid foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are... executin' his soul! And why? Because he's not a Bairdman. Bairdmen. You hurt this boy, you're gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, FUCK YOU TOO!
    – Submitted by Ailin L (21 months ago)
View all quotes (26)

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