Essential Philip Seymour Hoffman performances
George Willis, Jr. in 'Scent of a Woman'
Martin Brest's movie is best known for Al Pacino's scenery-chewing role as a blind man who teaches Chris O'Donnell some important life-lessons, but at the time, I couldn't help but notice Hoffman in a small role as George, the guy who ends up triggering the hearing that sets the stage for Pacino's big monologue at the end. And while he doesn't say much in the film, the reason he stood out is because he knew how to sell the details of a character even without dialogue. George is a wormy little daddy's boy, the kind of moneyed creep who is going to coast through life, knowing full well that no one's ever going to let him really fail at anything, knowing there will always be a way out for him. He's still a kid, but he's already curdled, and Hoffman was able to convey that completely with something as simple as an uncomfortable glance at his father.
- Drew McWeeny