Published in ciao
Scent of a Woman (1992) a comedy drama that you will never forgot. This film’s central theme is of two people who are world’s apart that comes together and learn from each other.
The colonel is a retired blind staunch military man who has to let down his ego and hire a young college student to be his chaperone and assist him in his daily functioning. It is no easy feat for anyone to take on the willful nature of Colonel Slade but the young Charlie stands his ground. Besides bossing him around Slade shows the rather conservative young Charlie the ropes. He shows him how to approach a woman and put away his shyness and how to have a good time living the life in limosine rides, fine dining and Ferrari racing car chases.
Al Pacino … Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade
Chris O’Donnell … Charlie Simms
James Rebhorn … Mr. Trask
Gabrielle Anwar … Donna
There is no doubt that Slade is a bully, there is no doubt that he is rich and has seen the world, even though he is blind. He shows Charlie how to see the world, He shows Charlie how to live.
But behind all the arrogance and camoflage, Slade is a very lonely man. Scent of a woman refers to the fact that Slade can identity every scent that a woman wears, but there is one flaw, he has that intimate ability to know the perfume a woman wears but he doesn’t have an intimate relationship. Is it fear of getting close to a woman or fear in himself for being a failure and totally useless to a woman?
My take is it is a bit of both and we have a parody here of young man who has never had a chance to love and old man who has forgotten how.
The culmination of this failure is brought to a head at a family Thanksgiving dinner where Frank and Charlie show up unexpected and unwanted. Frank makes a complete ass of himself disrupting the family dinner and is brought down to size when his nephew reminds him just how much of coward he really is, bringing up the real military service record, not the one that Slade perpetuates to the world.
We see a genuine love and respect develop between the colonel and student. Slade goes to bat for Charlie when he gets in trouble at the university and brings the whole house down in an unforgettable performance defending Charlie’s rights. In turn Charlie learns to be a man, and teaches Slade to remember he is still a man and has a life still worth living. I love the symetry each man is showing the other how to live and love.
This is truly a tender, dramatic, and at times comical story that is worth having in your film library collection.