Scent of a Woman

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -3

Al Pacino may be nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Lt. Col. Frank Slade in this very gripping drama. Blinded in a freak accident, Col. Slade has become a very bitter, belligerent man and has grown weary of life. He plans a last fling in New York City before he kills himself. He hires a reluctant Charlie Simms, a 17-year-old college student, to go with him. In the beginning, Slade unmercifully browbeats Charlie. While staying at the Waldorf Astoria, they survive a wild ride in a Ferrarri with Slade at the wheel, a harrowing suicide attempt by Slade, and a disastrous visit with Slade's brother. On the lighter side, Slade dances the tango with an attractive woman at a cocktail lounge. His prowess with women is heightened by his ability to identify the scent and name of whatever perfume they are wearing. All the while, Charlie is worrying because he and another student must stand "trial" before the school's headmaster and entire student body. They will be pressured to reveal the names of fellow students who played a destructive prank on the headmaster. In a surprise development, Slade appears at the inquisition to give a dramatic, moving defense of Charlie. Pacino gives a powerful performance as the abrasive, foul-mouthed, emotionally disturbed military officer. SCENT OF A WOMAN will probably rank among the most engrossing films of this year.

On the surface, Slade is a cruel, bitter villain who verbally batters and demeans Charlie. Occasionally, however, a more humane quality emerges to reveal a sensitive, intelligent man. Because of Charlie's incredible patience and concern for Slade, they come to respect and care for each other. Slade's constant use of blatant obscenities is grating on the nerves and offensive. He also regularly indulges in crude, sexual comments and descriptions, and delights in a one-night-stand with a prostitute. His degenerate lifestyle and language are not glamorized, however, and he is portrayed as a defeated human being. Slade's defense of Charlie at the school, including his comments on integrity and courage, are inspiring. SCENT OF A WOMAN comes across with some very positive messages, but its frequent foul and suggestive language is atrocious.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Blvd., Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (19) times - Mild, 6; Moderate, 13

Obscene Language: Many (50) times (f-word, 29; s-word, 16; other, 5)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular, 6; Exclamatory, 3

Violence: Few (3) times - Moderate (paint dumped on man and auto; fight; struggle over a gun)

Sex: None, but implied once by dialogue

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (Very crude slang references to oral sex and intercourse; graphic description of female anatomy and sex)

Drugs: Several times (alcohol drinking)

Other: None

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