Guillaume (Grégory Montel) is down on luck in the present day. He is currently going through a divorce and attempting to gain shared custody of his ten-year-old daughter. Guillaume requires a larger place to live as his apartment is far too small for both him and his daughter to make the lawyers pleased. He attempts to save every bit of money he can to either buy or rent a new place working as a professional driver.
Soon Guillaume is given the job to drive for Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos). Anne is well known in the perfume game, famous for developing all kinds of smells at a premium price. The only catch is, she is quite a demanding client with high expectations. Guillaume is never allowed to smoke; he must assist her with bags and even help change her bedsheets at night. Anne also does not use words such as ‘please’ or ‘thank you.
While Guillaume attempts to do his job well and keep a polite smile and positive tone, he has no problems eventually calling her out and standing up for himself. But for some reason, Anne enjoys having Guillaume around as her driver and sees several things within him that she admires. Soon an unlikely friendship begins between the two, and they teach and help each other with life, relationships, family, past hurts and naturally, the world of perfume and sales.
With a title like perfume, I thought to myself, “Why would I want to watch a movie about someone who makes fragrances?”. But thankfully, perfume is something else. It is a film about an unlikely friendship that starts rocky but forms into something more substantial than either one of them could have ever expected. Performances from both leads are tremendous and highly convincing. The film’s script and dialogue, and delivery are also worth noting, as conversations between the two were some of my favourite moments throughout the film and, again, felt natural.
Visually, I cannot fault this film either. It is easy to watch, and the film’s subtitles were always easy to follow. There are also some creative shots of landscapes and ariel shots from above. The audio is excellent and so important, being a dialogue-heavy film. Pacing, for the most part, is excellent, but big reveals are predictable. Despite this, I still enjoyed watching our leads go through moments that seemed impossible to overcome. The film’s second and third acts certainly have moments that feel a lot slower in pace before the third act delivers a conclusion. Opinions on pacing may vary among movie lovers.
Overall, Perfume is a lovely film with plenty of heart. It is a solid film that tells the story of two people who form an unlikely friendship and help each other in various areas, including personal matters and the world of business and sales. I was pleased by this film and was touched by its feel-good themes and vibes right from the start. Performances are excellent and, again, touching. While some moments are predictable, it is easy to forgive them, and I still enjoyed watching certain key elements from the plot unfold. It’s a good movie that focuses on the power of a solid friendship, and I must say, there are not many solid gems like this in film nowadays. Perfumes (2020) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!