The Scent of a Woman

June 14, 2007 at 11:07 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

What if you could create a scent so unique and so fine that every person within the room or a large city square can be greatly affected by it? Such is the case in the film, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. This film with international cast is about a young man named Jean Baptiste Grenouille who has an extraordinary sense of smell. In fact, he could detect a smell coming from miles away.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is set in the 1700s in Paris and begins from Jean Baptiste’s humble birth in a fishing market in Paris and how his unusual talent came about. Born to slavery, Jean goes from one slave master to another until he chances upon an Italian perfumer named Guiseppe Baldini whose fame has already faded. Guiseppe (played by Dustin Hoffman) takes him under his wing when he finds out about Jean’s acute sense of smell. And through his guidance and teachings, Jean learns about the craft of perfume making.


However, his life changes forever on the night he became obsessed with the natural scent of a woman he encountered on the street. As the days go by, Jean’s obsession with preserving every scent he encountered leads him to do drastic things. When 12 women turn up dead on every corner of the city, it is only a matter of time before he is caught and brought to justice. But a surprising incident happens on the day of his execution and Jean is able to show the people the justification of his crimes: the creation of the finest and ultimate perfume.

Visually stunning, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer successfully captured the audience’s attention with its vivid presentation of the olfactory sense as well as the sweeping images of Paris in the 1700s.

Ben Whishaw as Jean Baptiste is absolutely amazing. His gripping portrayal of the murderer leaves you with mixed emotions. You abhor him for the crimes he committed but at the same time you feel sorry for him. The film is quite disturbing, with lots of nudity in it. All in all, the movie is great. My only complaint is the climax of the film, the scene where Jean stood at the center of the city square surrounded by a large crowd who gathered to watch his execution. The crowd’s reaction upon smelling Jean’s ultimate creation was rather unbelievable. I mean, a massive orgy happening after smelling the perfume? Come on…

Based on Patrick Süskind’s novel of the same title, Perfume:The Story of a Murderer also stars Alan Rickman as the father of the last female victim. The film is directed by Tom Tykwer, the same director who did Run Lola Run.

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