Who ever knew blind people, were so different!
Hoping to earn some extra cash during the Thanksgiving holiday, poor prep-school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) agrees to look after blind — and cantankerous — Lt. Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino, in a tour-de-force performance). Though the callow student and jaded colonel are mismatched, their relationship grows as Simms follows Slade around Manhattan on a string of wild escapades, and Slade is unmasked as a sentimental romantic.
The major problem with this film is that it isn’t great, mostly due to its long time. The film clocks in at about 2 hours and 37 minutes, making this journey seem forever. There are points where I felt that the scenes went on for too long and could have actually been cut down a long with time. Many scenes seemed very unoriginal, and highly cliched. There is also one random scene with Pacino where he wants to after having a great time, wants to kill himself, and goes crazy. It’s an OK scene, just too out there and not placed well.
This movie has a great way of combining two different stories into make one theme special. The story of this blind veteran, and the story of this young college student who is in trouble at his old school, is actually weaved together quite well. Rather, the issue is making a decision for oneself and sticking by it. This is all done with a deft touch, and intelligent dialogue.
Probably the greatest element to this film is its flawless performance from Pacino. I stated I didn’t like the long running time, but in ways I felt it was suitable just for Pacino to show off his amazing skills like usual. He is funny, intelligent, crazy, and also memorbal, with hilarious lines like “Hooooooo- wahhhhh!!!!!” and “when in doubt, fuck”, Pacino obviously deserved himself that Oscar that he won. O’Donnell is a guy I feel bad for because he doesn’t get up-staged by Pacino, and actually has a couple of good scenes here and there. I just think if he said no to playing Robin, he would still be getting some good roles, and maybe when he’s 50, be in Pacino’s seat. Hey, you never know.
Consensus: Though it runs too long, and some scenes aren’t original, Scent of a Woman is a film that will surely have you effected mostly cause of its heart-felt message, and knock-out performance from Pacino, and a sweet performance from O’Donnell.