Wow. What a great movie. Ian had told me the storyline of the book about a year ago and it sounded amusing, but I wasn’t sure what kind of movie it would make. But all I can say is, wow. This movie deserves a Best Picture nomination. It’s working on all cylinders. The recreation of 18th century France is marvelous, the acting is great, the photography is beautiful, the story unfolds at a good pace and makes you always want to know what happens next, how will it end.

It’s not unusual these days to have movies center around anti-heroes, but the main character (played by Ben Whishaw) does a fantastic job of generating sympathy, even though he’s a bit nuts and only gets more so as the movie progresses. The audience is put in the strange position of understanding the rare and magical gift that the boy with the amazing sense of smell possesses, and wanting him to succeed in his goal of “capturing” scent, even as the means toward reaching that goal begin to encompass the murder of innocents.

I haven’t felt so conflicted about a character in a long time, which is a compliment to the writer, the director, and the actor. I was pleased from a philsophical standpoint with the way the story ended, and walked away from the film thinking that I had just been told a fantastic story with a fantastic conclusion. It’s not your typical Hollywood storyline with happy endings and all wrongs avenged and all villains punished, but it’s so creative in its departure from the norm (for instance, the extremely odd but completely believable orgy scene in the middle of the town square), that you are never left dissatisfied.

Go see this movie (or rent it).

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