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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 52

Perfume is what you'd expect from a Tom Twyker-directed movie glamorizing a serial killer: a kinetic visual feast, with a dark antihero that's impossible to feel sympathy for.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 22

Perfume is what you'd expect from a Tom Twyker-directed movie glamorizing a serial killer: a kinetic visual feast, with a dark antihero that's impossible to feel sympathy for.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 265,409

My Rating

Movie Info

"Perfume" is a terrifying story of murder and obsession set in 18th-century France. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille has a unique talent for discerning the scents and smells that swirl around him, which he uses to create the world's finest perfumes. Strangely lacking any scent of his own, he becomes obsessed with capturing the irresistible but elusive aroma of young womanhood. As Grenouille's obsession turns deadly, 12 young girls are found murdered. Panic breaks out as people rush to protect their


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Jul 24, 2007


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All Critics (128) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (52) | DVD (11)

Tykwer loses his cinematic grip when he tries to blend murder and piety. In his hands, the two don't emulsify.

January 11, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is another nauseous example of style over content: a toxic tale of serial homicide set in 18th-century France that creeps you out faster than it makes you think.

January 10, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hated this movie. Hated it.

January 8, 2007 | Comments (6)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer never tries to make Jean-Baptiste sympathetic but he's not rendered monstrous, either: He just is a victim of a passion larger and more powerful than any one man can handle.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The filmmakers] render a portrait of Paris that both delights and overwhelms the senses. This is a movie where eyes turn into noses, which may run at the many ghastly sights presented.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tykwer, best known for the ultramodern chase movie Run Lola Run, would seem an unusual choice for a period film, but he infuses the sometimes stately story with vigor; though well past two and a half hours, it never feels long.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a hard film to like, but it's even harder to dismiss, simply because it's never less than absolutely fascinating.

March 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

[Its] off-the-charts screwiness obscures virtually all shortcomings.

November 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

While you might not come away from a viewing feeling entirely satisfied, you will almost certainly have lots to talk about.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Tykwer squeezes every possible drop of melodramatic beauty out of this material. ...But the gorgeous visuals aren't enough to keep the drama from occasionally degenerating into beautifully produced hokum.

June 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Una estupenda reconstrucción histórica y un atractivo tratamiento visual son los principales valores de esta interesante aunque irregular adaptación.

April 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Plenty of high profile movies are about the tormented lives of artists. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer takes it up a notch: It's a legitimate artwork.

March 15, 2007 Full Review

Agree or disagree, this is a work so bold and provocative and distinctive that it demands to be seen.

March 12, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

In a time when the serial killer subgenre is practically the definition of derivative, Perfume is %u2013 for better or for worse %u2013 a whiff of something uniquely fresh.

February 12, 2007 Full Review

Ghastly and horrific, entertaining and mesmerizing, and it smells fantastic.

January 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

An intoxicating fable about a man whose phenomenal sense of smell sets him on an irrevocable course, Perfume is a captivating, if overlong adaptation.

January 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

We want to root for him, but he is more of a villain. The dichotomy is savory.

January 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Stanley Kubrick e Martin Scorsese chegaram a declarar que [Perfume], livro do alemão Patrick Süskind, seria "infilmável". Pois até os gênios erram.

January 25, 2007
Cinema em Cena

Tykwer's direction is solid, Whishaw lends a weight to the character and despite having little dialogue delivers a masterful performance. Of the large supporting cast, [Rachel] Hurd-Wood is a pleasant surprise and Alan Rickman as her protective father off

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Unpleasant yet intriguing, Perfume isn't exactly a breath of fresh air -- it's more like having smelling salts applied to one's cinematic experience.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's surprising that the director of Run Lola Run didn't make a movie that's lighter on its feet.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source:

Perfume is a strange but beguiling film that, like an intoxicating scent, stirs the imagination.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source:

Keeps the essence which made the novel such a scabrous, compelling read ... even in January, this deliriously loopy black comedy just may be the film of the year.

January 10, 2007 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

The film itself is way too long, culminating in a ludicrous orgy scene.....

January 9, 2007 Full Review
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

Audience Reviews for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Great costumes and good acting. But the story's a bit...odd. Not a satisfying conclusion at all.
April 4, 2013

Super Reviewer

An arthouse film involving obsession, murder, and...perfume? Odd, but intriguing. The broad concept (a man with a highly developed sense of smell, one that is so intense that it is the primary way he experiences the world strives to capture the essence of love) is kinda interesting, and has the potential to be riveting, but, with how the thigns are executed here, it's a disappointment.

I like artsy films, I do. But man, even with a potentially intriguing and involving concept, this is just a plodding, overlong bore. That, and it gets really absurd and hard to take seriously at times, especially the over the top ending. Yeah, there are some moments that are really creppy, atmospheric, thrilling and well done, but overall this is a lackluster thriller that doesn't deliver the goods often enough.

The production values are great, the film looks spectacular, and the music is quite good, but there's not a whole lot here that's really all that stunning. The cast is good, but their performances seem off, distant, and like they're jsut going through the motions. Plus, as I keep saying, the concept is potentially itneresting, but let's think about it: a sense of smell is the main driving force here. That's not an easy thing to make work, and I think they could have done a better job with the concept.

There's no shortage of talent here, but I just think that everyone went about it the wrong way a lot of times, hence why the film is the way it is. It's not a total failure, but man, this is a tough one to sit through.
March 11, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A French peasant boy born with a remarkably acute sense of smell becomes obsessed with capturing the scent of beautiful young girls leading him to murder. I must admit that I found the first act of this film captivating; the visuals are glorious and it gives a palpable feel for the time and context of the story complimented by some fantastic photography and nice performances. Once the plot takes a turn towards homicide however, all the sympathy you felt for Jean-Baptiste evaporates and with no central character to relate to, the narrative begins to seriously flounder. By the end the story becomes a load of existential guff and despite featuring surely the largest orgy ever committed to celluloid, I'd lost all interest in it. It's a shame because it started so well and there was enough of interest going on to make all of its flaws survivable... if it had just been 45 minutes shorter. A real missed opportunity.
April 6, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

I think I am lost as to what the critics didn't like about this. It was stunningly shot, completely visceral. Smell, like taste, is something that is difficult to translate into film and the only way to do get as real as possible and let the audience create it for themselves. The extravagant colors and shots were more than enough to start you thinking about all of the scents in the world.
Ben Whishaw was entrancing to watch as he became a serial killer and of course Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman deliver performances their names promise.
The story is edged with a bit of strange. But I think that's what made it slightly fantastical. I haven't read the book, but I am very interested in it now.
January 8, 2011
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

    1. Antoine Richis: Paris is not smarter than us.
    – Submitted by Reza P (8 months ago)
    1. Antoine Richis: It's not about faith! There's a murderer out there!
    – Submitted by Reza P (8 months ago)
    1. Narrator: He still had enough perfume left to enslave the whole world if he so chose. He could walk to Versailles and have the king kiss his feet. He could write the pope a perfumed letter and reveal himself as the new Messiah. He could do all this, and more, if he wanted to. He possessed a power stronger than the power of money, or terror, or death - the invincible power to command the love of man kind. There was only one thing the perfume could not do. It could not turn him into a person who could love and be loved like everyone else. So, to hell with it he thought. To hell with the world. With the perfume. With himself.
    – Submitted by Anastasia B (3 years ago)
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