Friday, 18 September 2009

Thoughts: Scent of A Woman

Much has been said about Al Pacino’s work in Scent of A Woman. The consensus seems to be that it’s nowhere near his best work and was not deserving of an Oscar on actual merit. What’s deserving? Nobody really knows. But I liked the film. Pacino stars opposite Chris O’Donnell. The story is about a blind, retired soldier who hires a prep student to “baby-sit” him for a weekend. It turns out to be more than the student anticipated.
Scent of A Woman is one of those teacher films. One of those films where a wise, seasoned mentor takes a younger person in hand. Usually, the mentor seems ostensibly abrasive, and confusing but eventually it all turns out well, for the most part. That’s not intended to simplify the movie, and its merits though. It’s a good film. One of those nice small films that wraps a bit too nicely for its own good, but a nice film nevertheless. 1992 is my least favourite year of the 90s. The only film I really hold in high esteem from the year is Howards End…it’s also the only 1992 film I have memory of re-watching. I can’t say whether or not Pacino deserved his Oscar…if not him, then who? It would have been cool to see Chris O’Donnell as a nominee too. Maybe if he had had a nomination back then his career would have been better now. He has one of those recognisable faces…but from what, you’re not quite sure. It was way in that I realised I knew from guest starring on Grey’s Anatomy.

Scent of A Woman also has Phillip Seymour Hoffman in one of his earlier film roles. It’s always nice watching good actors back when they were young and as a fan of Hoffman it was strangely cool to see him as the young, rich kid. Even then he was good. There’s one bit of dialogue that I’m dying to use in conversation some day – if I ever get the nerve. Pacino tells his nephew, referring to said nephew’s wife “She’s either nervous or unsatisfied. You oughta go down on her.”
It doesn’t bode too well for me, or the film that that’s the thing I remembered. Does it?

Have you seen this? Did Pacino deserve the win? What 1992 flick do you re-watch?


Univarn said...

That year was just a very weird year at the Oscars I'd say. Marisa Tomei winning for My Cousin Vinny? I probably would have gone, personally, Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (not a big fan of the film but he was amazing). Though I do like Al Pacino in this film, so I have no real protest of him winning.

Chris O'Donnell was sort of the "young guy" of the 90s. Three Musketeers, School Ties, Robin in the last two Batman films, etc. He's kind of making a cinematic comeback with roles in Kinsey, Max Payne (meh), and now NCIS: Los Angeles. No comment on you recognizing him from Grey's Anatomy :P.

Danny King said...

I thought Pacino was great in this film. Maybe not his best work like you said, but I still believe it's an Oscar quality performance. I think you're right that the ending is a bit too nice, and it is also a little bit too long, but the journey is so well done that I cut the ending a little bit of slack.

Karen said...

I haven't seen this movie in years! But I think it's free On Demand. I'll have to give it another viewing. I remember liking it though.