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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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Germany, France, Spain · 2006
Rated R · 2h 27m
Director Tom Tykwer
Starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Dustin Hoffman
Genre Crime, Fantasy, Drama

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born in the stench of 18th century Paris, develops a superior olfactory sense, which he uses to create the world's finest perfumes. However, his work takes a dark turn as he tries to preserve scents in the search for the ultimate perfume.

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What are people saying?

Megan Rochlin Profile picture for Megan Rochlin

Confession: I did not get this film. My French friends all liked the film so maybe it lost something in translation, however I thought it was just weird. The story seems to be grotesque for the sake of being grotesque. It's based on a best-selling book (which I admit I have not read), but if there is any magic in the book it has been lost on it's way to the screen.

What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

It's a noble experiment in pushing the limits of cinema, but Tykwer never achieves true profundity.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Try as it might to be refined and provocative, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer never rises above the pedestrian creepiness of its conceit.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

A memorable and outrageous movie, but one more likely to be remembered as a massive folly than a whopping success.


Los Angeles Times by Carina Chocano

What's missing is less a sense of the protagonist's inner nose (which is very well-trammeled) as a sense of his inner life, motivation or desire.


Empire by Dan Jolin

The odd conclusion renders it somewhat oblique, but Perfume is a feast for the senses.


Variety by Derek Elley

The seductive, sensory prose of Patrick Suskind's bestseller, "Perfume," reaches the screen with loads of visual panache but only intermittent magic.


The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

Perfume is ultimately an unmistakable failure, but there's a strange majesty to its epic overreaching. It can be faulted for many things, but not for lacking the courage of its convictions.

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