D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Scent of a Woman, 1992.
Directed by Martin Brest.
Starring Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Scent of a Woman is the story of prep school student Charlie Simms (O’Donnell) caring for a bitter, blind and alcoholic retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Pacino) after his own family decide to leave him for Thanksgiving. Implicated in trouble at school, Charlie has concerns about his future before arriving to care for Frank and meeting his resistance and aggression.
Soon after his family have gone, the short-tempered Frank whisks himself and Charlie away on a trip to New York. Staying at Waldorf-Astoria and eating fine food, Frank explains to Charlie that his trip has been designed to give him some simple pleasures before he blows his own brains out, and Charlie doesn’t know whether to take him serious or not.
Frank insists on a surprise visit to his brother’s home during their Thanksgiving dinner and is hell bent on upsetting everyone and anyone he can before being thrown out. Throughout their trip the pair begin to build a bond; Frank advises Charlie on his school troubles and when eating at a fancy restaurant Frank leads the beautiful Donna (Gabrielle Anwar) in spectacular tango on the dance floor. The relationship built between the two sees Frank reconsider his original decision to blow his brains out and he helps Charlie overcome his school issues when the pair return home.
Scent of a Woman is the fantastic story of a young, naive and honest student helping a bitter and twisted old man blaming everyone around him for the misfortunes he brought upon himself. As the two learn from each other they build a friendship and both find something that they need in order to get their own lives back on track.
Scent of a Woman is a film you must see before you die because it is Al Pacino’s one and only Oscar win. A man so talented who has put in so many outstanding performances over a long and established career has deserved more than his fair share of statues, but this is being his only win means it must be seen.