For the most part, "Scent of a Woman" is standard Hollywood fare, featuring a "heartwarming" and "uplifting" story about personal growth, the strength of friendship, and the discovery that life really isn't so bad after all. The plot involves a young student (Chris O'Donnell), who agrees to watch over a blind and embittered ex-colonel (Al Pacino) for Thanksgiving weekend. He then goes on to teach the older man a few lessons about life, while learning just as much himself. If this sort of relationship sounds familiar, it is because it has been the subject of countless other films (think "Finding Forrester," for instance). "Scent of a Woman" is at least partially redeemed by the presence a few memorable moments, such as the scenes involving the Tango and the Ferrari.
What really sets this film apart, though, is Al Pacino's brilliant performance. Although he tends to overact on occasion (as in some of his other post-1970s films, such as "Scarface"), he still manages to reveal the complexities of his character in a way that no other actor could have managed. While Chris O'Donnell and James Rebhorn are fine in their roles, it is Al Pacino who gives us a reason to watch this otherwise unremarkable film.
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