Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 60 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Al Pacino won his first Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of an overbearing, blind retired Lieutenant Colonel who hires a young guardian (O'Donnell), to assist him. It's a heart-wrenching and heartwarming tale of opposites attracting when they embark on a wild weekend trip that will change the lives of both men forever. (Universal) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. But it's essentially a tour de force for Pacino, and he sustains us through the slow passages by working with a closed-in intensity that turns each scene into a kind of mini-movie complete with its own ticking time bomb. [23Dec1992 Pg. 1]
  2. The good thing is that the principals and film makers make the absolute most of a conventional opportunity.
  3. 75
    By the end of Scent of a Woman, we have arrived at the usual conclusion of the coming-of-age movie, and the usual conclusion of the prep school movie. But rarely have we been taken there with so much intelligence and skill.
  4. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    This is acting that chills the heart beyond any possibility of warming.
  5. In the end, however, when all Pacino's demons are bared, they don't add up to the poignant punchline you were set up for. The movie seems to have two or three finales too many -- a disturbing trend in all too many films of late.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A 2 1/2-hour movie with halves that don't quite mesh, it still gives Al Pacino a role that's a perfect fit. [23 Dec 1992 Pg. 01.D]
  7. Instead, you get a nominal character study that boasts a single mighty performance and one nifty scene; alas, both performance and scene exist in a narrative vacuum - the plot is non-existent and the pace makes the ice age seem hasty.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Sep 12, 2013
    Finally! Something really emotional! The acting is just so amazing that it's hard to believe that it's a movie! I love it and i highly recommend it to people with heart! 9/10 Expand
  2. Aug 28, 2013
    Beautiful film. Pacino's magnum opus. His cantankerous, wise, and somewhat sadistic character surprisingly is a likable one. He plays it to a whole new standard. The performance is a masterpiece of cinema. Loved it the whole time. Expand
  3. Aug 28, 2010
    now when i first heard of this film i thought it was about some blind guy finding love . so the films title is very misleading which is a very good thing cause the first one woulda bored the hell outa me . no what this film is about is a ex army colonel frank slade played by al pachino who is a cranky , mean , nasty son of a **** . who plays this role to perfection . as well as a college kid played by chris o donnel who have a adventure in new york . the film is best seen to be understood. i dont know what film the critics saw to give this such low reviews . its a excellent film that has a great story and is very well acted. Collapse
  4. May 17, 2014
    Charming, funny, and powerful, Scent of a Woman is a good film anchored by a legendary performance from Al Pacino. Without him, this film would be nothing extraordinary. But, with him, it is elevated significantly. Overall, the story is ok and is somewhat compelling, but every line spoken by Pacino are a mixture of emotions. On the surface, many undeniably funny, but it is also hard-hittingly powerful or inspirational, while many of them are simply depressing, as he is a man who thinks he has no further purpose in life. On top of Pacino, Chris O'Donnell does a great job (as does Philip Seymour Hoffman in a small role RIP), making this even more of an acting showcase, rather than a superb film. However, regardless, the film is incredibly enjoyable and endearing as we learn to love Slade (much like Charlie) and all of his little quirks. Plus, his monologue at the end is absolutely phemomenal and really stands as one of the best monologues in film.

    On the negative side of things, it is a tad long. I love getting to see this much of their lives, but if it could be cut down to at least 2:10 rather than almost 2:40, it would be really beneficial. There is really no reason for this one to be so long. Otherwise, Scent of a Woman is a solid film that is lifted to new heights by a bravora performance from a living legend in Al Pacino who continously wows you throughout the film.
  5. ParkerG.
    Jan 23, 2008
    An unexpected treasure found on the shelf of my own DVD collection. I had purchased the movie many months ago based on the Academy Award to best actor. I had no idea what to expect and was completely enraptured with the journey the movie took me on. A wonderful movie. Don't analyze, just enjoy. Expand
  6. Aug 11, 2014
    Hoo-ah! Scent of a Woman is an interesting movie. It s a showcase for Al Pacino, and a reason to give him an Oscar. It throws in some life messages and themes to seem important, and gives Al some good quips to make about prep school life. The character development is on point, an it is entertaining to watch. It doesn't have much substance, but it makes up for it in comedy and themes; and the soundtrack is beautiful. Expand
  7. May 12, 2014
    There is no plot whatsoever in this film. It's poorly structured, lacks consistency and the ending is very weak. Unlike most people here, I'm going to have to criticize Pacino as well for wildly overacting this time around. He is nowhere close to his best and you expect better from an actor of such calibre. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews