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Scent of a Woman Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today 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]

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    If there's anything special about the film, it's that on this occasion, the emotional realism of the characters, especially Slade, is heartwrenchingly believable.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    In the end, Scent of a Woman offers little more than lumbering simulation of Rain Man's nimble magic. But Pacino's performance-scabrous, tender, ripely theatrical-is a master showman's trick.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    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.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    The good thing is that the principals and film makers make the absolute most of a conventional opportunity.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Peter Rainer

    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]

  • See all Scent of a Woman reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Pacino's intense performance best for older teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this R-rated movie includes strong language, and one of the main characters is an alcoholic who constantly drinks Jack Daniels. There is talk of sex, but no sex scenes or nudity. There are some physical altercations, but no blood or gore. One character is suicidal and points a gun at his teen caretaker. In one brief scene, high school prep students are shown smoking cigarettes. Spoiled, rich teens play an expensive prank on their headmaster, and then pressure peers to lie for them.

  • Families can talk about the reasons the colonel is so angry and depressed. How did Charlie get over his first impressions of the colonel, and how did he try to help him want to keep on living? Why was the speech that the colonel gave at the prep school so powerful? What do you think Charlie learned from the colonel, and vice versa? Do you think the colonel is an accurate portrayal of an addict? How is the colonel like or unlike addicts depicted in other movies?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Main adult character deals with his sad circumstances by excessive drinking and angry outbursts; rich prep school students play expensive prank on their headmaster; headmaster tries to bribe a student; one student finds himself being forced to choose between snitching or accepting a bribe; the main teen character is a responsible, level-headed kid who tries to help a suicidal man overcome his anger and fears.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Main adult character is suicidal and tells teen caretaker that he's going to blow his own brains out; adult slams a relative up against a wall and gets in a physical fight with his teen caretaker over a gun.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Main adult character is obsessed with women (as objects, not people) and sex and uses escort services; non-graphic discussions of sexual encounters.

  • language false5

    Language: Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "dammit," "son of a bitch," "tits," "p---y," "piece of tail."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Jack Daniels, Ferrari, Waldorf Astoria.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Main adult character is an alcoholic who drinks Jack Daniels throughout most of the film while his level-headed teen caretaker drinks just a single beer in one scene; prep school teens smoke cigarettes in a brief scene.