Scent of a Woman


Director: Martin Brest
Writer: Based on Ibuio e il miele by Giovanni Arpino
Released: 1992
Featuring: Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell

Getting this film in a “two for $20” sale I was cautious, particularly because the front cover showed a rather dated looking image and the title sounded a tad creepy. However, the name ‘Al Pacino’ gave me hope.

Scent of a Woman is an incredibly fascinating film to watch repeatedly because of the script, which is deep and meaningful to say the least.

Colonel SladeAl Pacino’s character – referred frequently to as The Colonel – is a blind man who appears to be as mad as a dog at his first screen appearance. But he is such an interesting character I almost wish he were real. He is an experienced soldier and a wise man, who has a story or two to tell.

Chris O’Donnell’s character is Charlie who is hired as Colonel Slade’s aid for a thanksgiving weekend. He is dragged to New York with him, but learns a lot along the way.

There are a couple of incredibly memorable scenes. One is where Colonel does a very moving speech at Charlie’s school. I wrote all about it here. There are some brilliant quotes, and by the end you have total respect for this flawed character.

Scent of a Woman

Colonel: 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 is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There’s no prosthetic for that.

The other memorable scene is the tango scene. Colonel and Charlie are sitting in a restaurant when Colonel senses a woman sat by herself behind them and he asks her to dance the tango with him. It sounds creepy, but it’s actually beautiful.

Colonel: There are no mistakes in the tango. If you get all tangled up, you just tango on!

Scent of a Woman
reminds me a lot of Driving Lessons (and many other films including The Intouchables and You’re Not You): Where an old person drags a young person somewhere. The young person doesn’t know jack about life, and learns a lot from the old, wise person. Then, the young person finds out that the old person has big secrets. So they help each other out. I’ve written about this in my post One Story, Six Movies.


I love these kind of films though, even if the story isn’t original anymore. I guess they’re coming-of-age films. Films such as Driving Lessons, The Way Way BackLittle Miss Sunshine, Juno and Up In Air. They’re funny but thought-provoking too.

Colonel: “Are you blind?!”
Charlie: “No of course not”
Colonel: “Then why do you keep grabbing my arm? I take YOUR arm.”

Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10

In case you’re interested – the speech.

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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10 Responses to Scent of a Woman

  1. Yjsy od s brtu hppf trbore.
    Col Slade. Hoo ha!

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