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September 13th, 2007


I had originally planned to post something else this week, but fate had other plans.

This week, my daughter brought home a movie which I had seen the previews for at the theater. At the time I thought it had looked totally fascinating, despite the fact the second half of the preview made it look like a slasher film. My husband pooh pooh'ed it at the time, and I don't know if it was out long if at all at the theaters.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is far from a being a slasher film. They shot themselves in the foot with the advertising there. But what had caught my attention at the time when I saw the preview, it had in spades. More on that later...

As the title itself suggests, the movie is the story of a murderer, a biography actually, of the life of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. His life was one of being different, obsession, and desperately wanting to preserve things that could be lost.

For an obscure film. it had some heavy hitters. Dustin Hoffman was a total delight as the aging perfumer Guisseppe Baldini. Even more fun was Alan Rickman (Better known as Snape by most) as Richis. I do not believe I have seen Mr. Ben Wishaw before (though his film credits are many), but I will tell you he made a great creepy/obsessed/innocent/eager/abnormal man.

Jean-Baptiste is unusual from other people in two things - 1) He has an uncanny , virtually superhuman sense of smell and 2) He has no actual scent of his own.

What I utterly loved about this film is how hard those who made the film worked at making the act of smelling something and turned it into a visual medium so though you could not smell what Jean-Baptiste smelled, you could very well imagine it. There is one scene with Dustin Huffman where he opens a vial of perfume Jean-Baptiste has made and you see him overwhelmed by the scent as the scene around him changes to a lush garden full of all sorts of flowers, even a gypsy woman who saunters by and tells him that she loves him. (I've seen this done for taste in a cooking anime show, so I thought the similarities hilarious, but never mind...)

The settings, the clothing, and all the little touches were wonderful in the film. They took you from the common filth to the elite and back. And they did some marvelous things with light and shadow. The very first scene was amazing in that way as they use light and shadow to highlight the one organ that meant everything for the film, Jean-Baptiste's nose. Another lovely scene was when he sneaks up on the fruit seller girl when she is home so he can smell her scent up close.

Even better, though Jean-Baptiste is so not normal, and at times it screams of his not fitting in, you still find yourself wanting him to succeed in his project, despite the fact that to complete his goal people must die. The writers have several unusual and clever things going on as well, as for some reason pretty much anyone who Jean-Baptiste gets close to end up dead, and through no doing of his. Just some clever plot of fate, as if making sure no one would remember this unusual man by getting rid of those who know him. Several plot twists work you up toward where you think you know where things are going and then go somewhere else. The ending, while totally apt, you will never see coming.

Definitely a must see movie, even weird as it was!:P

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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