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Parents' Guide to

Her Smell

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Great lead performance in overlong, mature drama.

Movie R 2019 134 minutes
Her Smell Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Too intense for anyone under 20

This is a rough character study of rough characters from the punk music scene of the 1980's. If you're in or around the music business, it's for you. But it's not for families or kids, there's abusiveness, drinking drugs, etc. The acting is wonderful - Moss is stunning, and the supporting cast of her band (I don't know their names) is terrific too. Interestingly, the men in the film (Dan Stevens from 'Downton Abbey' and Eric Stolz from 'Pulp Fiction') are the gentle kinder characters, but make no mistake - it's a film about a severely messed up woman trying to get her life together. Not a family film. Why did I rate this a 'great role models'? Because Moss eventually realises the damage she's done and gets her act together, in a way.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

After a headache-inducing first half, this erratic, overlong drama slows down and grabs a breath, and it's possible to see that Moss' volcanic, 5,000-degree performance is the real thing. Viewers who make it through the first half of Alex Ross Perry's Her Smell will be rewarded, but it isn't easy. An hour or so of screen time is marred by crazy camerawork; a droning, thumping sound design; and screechy, theatrical performances. Dialogue that should sound spontaneous instead sounds written and rehearsed, like a ranting, rejected stage play. It's all extremely high-pitched and exhausting.

But when the story cuts to years later, with Becky slowly, methodically making a cup of tea and staring into the middle distance (waiting for a chicken-shaped kitchen timer to tell her the tea is steeped), the performance finally begins to take shape. The movie and the character become grounded, and the range and intensity of Moss' work recalls nothing less than Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. Her Smell tries for a victorious ending, and it doesn't entirely click, but by that point Moss has completely won us over.

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