Love, Blinded, Follows After The Scent of a Woman is written by Gleb Daniels.
“Would you like to learn how to Tango, darling?”
“Uh… I think I’d be a little afraid.”
“Afraid of making a mistake.”
“No mistakes in the Tango, darling, not like life. Simple; that’s what makes the Tango so great, if you make a mistake, get all tangled up, you just Tango on.”
He took her to the centre stage, an old blind man with a young beautiful woman who met each other not even a minute ago inside a fancy, expensive New York restaurant. They danced the Tango, each step on the tempo, each push to the crescendo, and each spin on a whim. They laughed over their little mistakes and awkward movements and at the end the crowd gave them a clap anyway. Then they separated, she left with her man to see their friends while the blind veteran watched after them go.
“Daryl and Carol,” he echoes the friends names, “yes.”
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a bitter former soldier, got himself a high-school board-school nanny-kid to look after him while his own daughter, son-in-law and grandkids drive away on a trip. He could have gone with them, but he had other plans, so he wasn’t too broken up about it. Still, he wasn’t going to let some brat punk him around and allowed himself to pull excuses to scare him first, tease later and berate at all times.
“Haven’t you heard? Conscience is dead.”
“No, I haven’t heard.”
“Well, then, take the fucking WAX OUTTA YOUR EARS! Grow up! It’s fuck your buddy, cheat on your wife, call your mother on Mother’s Day! …Charlie, it’s all shit.”
Frank was played by Al Pacino, someone who’s better known for roles with violence and aggression, and there was plenty of both here. He ruins a thanksgiving dinner with his own family by almost choking someone out, almost ends up crashing a car, nearly gets run over by a car, and almost commits a murder-suicide. He keeps getting closer to the line but he never crosses it, always pulled back by Charlie, played by Chris O’Donnell, making him realise how he lost his sight way before the line was ever crossed in the first place.
“I’m no fucking good. And I never have been.” He told his older brother.
His aforementioned plans were going like this: he saved his disability checks, enough to afford a first-class flight to New York, some expensive dinners, plenty of John Daniels, a hotel room, and a night with an escort that was so good at her job she nearly made a political event between two countries. Then, when all was said and done, he was gonna blow his own brains out.
“You don’t wanna die,”
“Neither do you,”
“Give me one good reason not to.”
“I’ll give you two. You can dance the Tango and drive a Ferrari better than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
“…You never seen anyone do either.”
He was an old man, a washout, he had promise and squandered it. He taught, he killed, he fought and he fucked like no one’s business. Then came a time when he wanted to be a father, but he wasn’t even in the same house as his daughter, for Christ’s sake. But he was there for Charlie’s sake. It’s obvious that Frank was filled with regret, but what was surprising was how it all drove him to be good to Charlie in the end. He tempted Charlie with easy decisions of security and self-preservation, but Charlie didn’t do it. It’s stupid not to, he stood to lose everything when the other kids didn’t. He would have none of it, went on to the bitter end, keeping his mouth shut out of principle.
Charlie’s personal struggle was mostly side-lined by Frank’s materialistic satisfaction. While Frank was making amends and having fun before biting the bullet, Charlie was busy making sure he wouldn’t leave a mess while waiting for his turn to get shot up by his principle back home. What Frank thought he wanted was to fall asleep with a woman’s hair all over his face, the curls, but that only gave him an afterglow. What Frank really needed was to make sure that Charlie’s soul would continue shining brighter than any light in NY.
In summary, The Scent of a Woman is a beautiful film about an old man, filled with regrets, finding forgiveness by guiding and teaching a youth that he believes is already better than he ever could have been. It touches on fundamentals, brushes against politics, clashes with ideals, sings with music and dances the tango. It’s a cathartic masterpiece, partly thanks to Frank’s devil-may-care attitude and surprisingly polite and respectful approach to people around him, and partly thanks to Charlie’s iron-willed resistance to his piss-taking, always staying by him to make sure he’s alright.
I loved revisiting this film, it was sweet, smooth, hard-hitting, like an old bottle of John Daniels, and I’d recommend anyone else to watch it, even if I gave some things away.
“Don’t you mean Jack Daniels?”
“He may be Jack to you son, but when you’ve known him as long as I have… That’s a joke.“
To read more from Gleb Daniels, visit: https://www.glebdaniels.co.uk/blog-1