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Hollywood Rewind | Al Pacino-starrer Scent of a Woman is as charming and piercing as its lead actor

What makes this 1992 film strike a chord with me even after all these years is primarily its performances and a narrative that boasts of ideals we all aspire to--courage, honesty and loving selflessly.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: September 3, 2020 12:12:49 pm
hollywood rewind Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell in a still from 1992 film Scent of a Woman.

Scent of a Woman movie cast: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Scent of a Woman movie director: Martin Brest
Scent of a Woman movie rating: 4 stars

“No mistakes in the Tango, Donna. Not like life,” says Al Pacino’s Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in the 1992 drama Scent of a Woman. There have been few characters as enigmatic and dynamic as Frank Slade. At the face of it, he appears to be a foul-mouthed, cussing, bitter old man who has not fully reconciled to his circumstances. But as the movie progresses, we come to know that he is a lot more than just that.

Apart from a brilliant Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is wonderfully supported by the fairly young cast of Chris O’Donnell and Philip Seymour Hoffman. While Donnell fits the part of his naive, disbelieving and kind-hearted Charlie Simms, the late Hoffman was convincing as George Willis, the stubborn and rich student of the Baird school.

What makes this 1992 film strike a chord with me even after all these years is primarily its performances and a narrative that boasts of ideals we all aspire to–courage, honesty and loving selflessly. Through the visually challenged Frank Slade, young Charlie evolves and gets to see life with fresh lenses.

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There are great one-liners of course, delivered with just the right amount of sass and pause by Pacino. Interestingly, Pacino had bagged the Best Actor Oscar for his role as the unsteady but full-of-life Frank Slade.

What is refreshing and noble about Pacino’s Frank Slade is that he is a man who believes in himself. Despite being treated unfairly by life, he has enthusiasm and appreciation for it.

But there is a dark side to Frank as well, a brutal and unforgivable past that affects his present. However, in the course of time he spends with his new friend Charlie, he develops a softer skin. This beautiful, symbiotic relationship between Frank and Charlie is one of the highlights of the Martin Brest directorial.

There are some dramatic moments as well, and somewhere, the narrative drags. But hey, let’s look at the brighter side of things, shall we? And to that effect, there are many. The actors, the screenplay, the dialogues and the lessons.

You can catch Scent of a Woman on YouTube.

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