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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Scent of a Woman
Directed by Martin Brest
Universal Studios Home Video 01/93 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - language

Frank Slade is a reclusive retired Army colonel who lost his sight in an accident. He's a clever but bitter man, enslaved to booze and abrasive criticism of those who come into contact with him. Nearby at a posh New England prep school, scholarship student Charlie Simms fears expulsion if he doesn't identify some classmates he saw playing a nasty prank on the headmaster. The self-destructive vet and the mild-mannered student are thrown together when Charlie takes a job looking after Frank during Thanksgiving vacation.

In a surprise move, Frank takes the boy to New York City for what he calls "a last tour of the battlefield." The cynical old warrior intends to commit suicide after a weekend of exquisite, high-class living. Despite his depression, Frank still has a way with women. Charlie learns a quick lesson in sexual politics as he watches this blind man pick up a beautiful woman at a fancy restaurant and teach her the tango in front of a group of astonished observers. Before the weekend is over, Charlie steers Frank clear of fulfilling his death wish, and the colonel returns the favor by helping him make the right ethical decision at school.

Bo Goldman's bold and vibrant screenplay gives Scent of A Woman its emotional clout as a memorable drama about youthful initiation into adulthood. Al Pacino delivers a knockout performance as a wise wizard who over the course of one wild weekend opens the eyes of a decent lad to the soulful and urgent dimensions of life and death in an imperfect world.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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