Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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 … More

Rating: R (for aberrant behavior involving nudity, violence, sexuality, and disturbing images)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Tom Tykwer, Bernd Eichinger, Andrew Birkin, Caroline Thompson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 24, 2007
Box Office: $2.1M
Dreamworks - Official Site


as Jean-Baptiste Grenou...

as Guiseppe Baldini

as Antoine Richis

as The Plum Girl

as Mme. Gaillard

as Mme. Arnulfi

as Dominique Druot

as Boarding House Boy

as Boarding House Girl

as Jean-Baptiste Grenou...

as Jean-Baptiste Grenou...

as Upholsterer

as Françoise

as Tallien's Wife

as Police Lieutenant

as Messenger

as Innkeeper's Wife

as Torture Chamber Guar...

as Executioner

as Land Priest

as Woman With Bishop

as Customer Fishmarket

as Hangover Girl

as Beggar Woman No. 1

as Beggar Woman No. 2

as Grenouille's Mother

as Bishop of Grasse

as Mayor of Grasse

as Court Official

as Guard No. 1 Dungeon

as Fishmarket Customer

as Fishmarket Woman

as Fishmarket Woman No....

as Pelissier

as Baldini's Wife

as Young Woman

as Neapolitan Girl

as Housekeeper

as Councillor No. 1

as Councillor No. 2

as Councillor No. 3

as Councillor

as Gatekeeper

as Marquis de Montesqui...

as Narrator

as Guard No. 2 Dungeon

as Chief Magistrate

as Police Lieutenant

as Door Guard
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (43)

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

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.

Full Review… | January 10, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

Hated this movie. Hated it.

January 8, 2007
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

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

Full Review… | November 21, 2007
Lessons of Darkness

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

Full Review… | July 20, 2007
Apollo Guide

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.

Christian C

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.

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.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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