Movie Madness - Scent of a Woman | Arts & Culture
It’s been awhile since I have written a review but I caught a movie this weekend and by caught I mean I purposely sat down and watched. From Netflix comes Scent of a Woman.
A prep school student, Charlie Simms, needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated. The movie stars Al “Whoo-ah” Pacino with Chris O’Donnell and a less doughy Philip Seymour Hoffman.
You may ask yourself “What, Chris O’ Donnell? He played Robin and was the beginning of the end for the Batman movies!” but if O’ Donnell was ever brought in court he’d say “Yes, I was Robin and I did help in the unmaking of the 90’s Batman movies but at least I wasn’t in Jack & Jill”
Another weird fact is the film is beautifully directed by Martin Brest, who got his big break directing the Eddie Murphy blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop. After that, Brest was on a roll with such great films including Midnight Run, Scent of a Woman, and Meet Joe Black. Then he made Gigli and shortly after was shoved into a capsule and launched into space to never be heard from again.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see a movie like this. The movie is almost perfect in every way. It has an interesting plot, characters, and is supremely directed. Brest brings a touch of whimsical glow to the film with a very similar feel to it as the movie Rudy.
The film starts out with Charlie Simms (O’Donnell) at a prep school located in the North East, probably near New York or Gotham City. We find out that while the rest of the students come from upper class and privileged families, Simms is there only on scholarship and comes for a middle to lower class family. To sum it up, he’s like Rachael Leigh Cook from She’s all that…except a dude…and with better hair. This puts a strain on him when some of his prep school friends decide to play a prank on the School’s headmaster. One of the teachers witnesses Simms and George Willis, Jr. (Hoffman) at the scene when it happens. The headmaster then brings both of them into his office. He excuses Willis but the headmaster attempts to bribe Charlie by saying he will give him a letter of recommendation to Harvard if he tells him who did it. Charlie continues not to rat out his friends but is conflicted.
Shortly after, Charlie goes to the house of a woman whose uncle, Retired Lt. Frank Slade (Pacino), is a cranky blind alcoholic. The woman will pay Charlie $300 if he takes care of him over the Thanksgiving weekend while her family goes out of town. What a loving family; LEAVING their uncle ALONE ON THANKSGIVING WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER! Charlie thinks he only has to deal with Scarface for a few days in a little New England town but Charlie is quickly whisked away by Slade to New York City and there is where their adventures and misadventures take place.
One huge compliment I have to give is to Bo Goldman who wrote the screenplay. The lines and monologues Pacino’s character gives are a notch above the rest. They’re smart, witty, thought-provoking and sometimes funny. It’s a shame that Goldman didn’t get the win for best screenplay at the Oscars but then again the Oscars are starting to be a sham anyway.
There are solid performances by all in the film even by Gabrielle Anwar who is only in the movie a short time but is in one of the most famous scenes in movie history, the “Tango scene”. One small complaint is that the film lags a tad bit in certain parts and at two-and-a-half-hours, it may feel long to some viewers.
Now that I think of it, there is another movie that stars O’Donnell and Anwar, 1993’s the Three Musketeers! So I give this film a very complicated 4 out of 3 Musketeers and now I want candy.