Scent of a Woman Reviews
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.
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.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's first real roll.
I really enjoyed this movie
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, commit suicide. The film follows the mismatched pair over the course of the weekend, as they learn about life through their series of adventures.
Scent of a Woman tackles life important issues like values, principles and integrity and is done in such a way that it brings power and sensitivity at the same time. Director Martin Brest didn't rely on "tried and tested" Hollywood tearjerker formula but instead takes it deep from the heart and just overwhelms you with great emotions. If this film haven't touched you at the very least, then I don't know what will. What tops off this mesmerizing film is the intensity that the actors brought to the table most especially Al Pacino in one of his career defining roles as Lt. Col. Frank Slade.
In what is possibly one of the finest showcase of acting I have ever seen, Al Pacino disappears completely and minute by minute a new sentient being emerges, that of a blind man whose sarcastic wit and rip roaring voice demands attention and believe you me, you cannot help but get carried away by Pacino's superb performance. One shining moment is most definitely the speech that his character gave at the end. It is undoubtedly one of the finest monologues I have ever seen in the history of cinema. Great delivery by Pacino. Nothing more can be said, it is powerful, deep, grand, heart-wrenching and majestic. It is a testament as to why Al Pacino can almost be compared to a god, a living, breathing god. Chris O' Donnell, not to say he underperformed but he delivers as well playing school boy Charlie Simms. One might say he was completely overshadowed by an acting god which is not entirely true. He had some defining moments throughout the film and is overall fantastic.
Scent of a Woman is a must-see.
This has to be my favourite performance from Pacino yet, what a great character, I though Chris O'Donnell's performance was very very good also.
The reason for me why this film doesn't quite make the full ratings is simply because of the typical 'Hollywood' clapping part, otherwise a fantastic film.
VERDICT: A Definite recommendation