Combustible Celluloid
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With: Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gene Canfield, Richard Venture, Bradley Whitford, June Squibb, Frances Conroy, Rochelle Oliver, Nicholas Sadler, Todd Louiso, Ron Eldard
Written by: Bo Goldman, based on a novel by Giovanni Arpino, and suggested by a screenplay by Ruggero Maccari, Dino Risi
Directed by: Martin Brest
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 157
Date: 12/23/1992

Scent of a Woman (1992)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Blind Chance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many hate this movie because Al Pacino's over-the-top, mad-dog performance ("HOO-ha!!!") won him his first and only (to date) Oscar, rather than any of his more subtle, more lasting performances. The movie is far too long and sentimental, and Chris O'Donnell is very bland in the co-starring role, but other than that, Scent of a Woman (1992) casts a warm, cozy spell and makes a decent holiday film that most family members can enjoy (though it is rated "R" for language). O'Donnell plays a poor kid attending a prep school on a scholarship; over Thanksgiving break he takes a job looking after a blind, retired Army lieutenant colonel named Frank Slade (Pacino). But the salty, hard-drinking Slade whisks the kid off to New York City for a weekend of debauchery instead. (It's the typical "free-spirit-meets-uptight-prude" formula.) In a lovely scene, Slade tangoes with a beautiful young Gabrielle Anwar. Philip Seymour Hoffman has an early role as another student. Amazingly, the movie received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay (it was a remake of an Italian film), and Best Director.

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