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Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), orphaned as a newborn in the streets of Paris, is alone in the world. A peculiar child who rarely speaks, Grenouille is alienated from others but blessed with a remarkable gift. His sense of smell is so refined, so attuned to every blade of grass and blossoming flower, that it's tragic when he's sold into servitude to a tannery at the age of 13 and surrounded by the foul odors that accompany his labor.
But there comes a day when Grenouille does an errand in town and discovers the object that will transform his life: perfume. Eager to learn the art of creating sophisticated fragrance, he apprentices himself to a once-renowned perfumer, and proves to be a savant whose almost mystical knowledge of scent surpasses anything that can be taught to him by masters of the craft.
Ironically, he was born with no scent of his own, a distinction which colors his undistinguished life. But Grenouille is fearless when it comes to the pursuit of a perfect perfume. When he discovers the most intoxicating scent he has ever experienced -- the natural fragrance of a beautiful young girl -- he learns that the only method to preserve her innocence and fresh beauty will require murder.
Plaguing the countryside with a series of gruesome killings, Grenouille must stay one step ahead of the authorities until he captures the final ingredient for his greatest perfume -- the essence of a beautiful redheaded girl whose wealthy father earnestly protects her. Only then, he believes, will he earn the attention and adulation that his extraordinary talent deserves.
Based on the best-selling novel by Patrick Süskind.