‘The Perfumier’ Ending, Explained: What Were The Pearl & The Love Perfume? How Did Sunny End Dorian’s Fantasy?


Patrick Suskind’s German novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” has inspired several works of art. The recent German release, “The Perfumier,” is another attempt at retelling the strange story of a man obsessed with creating the perfume of love. “The Perfumier” is possibly the worst take on the novel. Everything is discussed superficially in the film. The characters of the police officer, Sunny, and the perfumier, Dorian, were not well thought of. Overall, the film is a dull watch that leaves several questions unanswered.

 Spoilers Ahead

‘The Perfumier’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Sunny Valentin, a police officer, transferred to a new town, hoping to stay closer to her lover, Juro. Their relationship was not an easy one. Juro was married with two children. Sunny knew about his family, but she could not help but fall in love with him. She hoped for him to choose her over anyone else, but it was difficult for Juro. It was not just her troubled relationship that bothered her but also the fact that she had a unique disadvantage; she could not smell. She always felt that she was missing out on a range of experiences. On the contrary, there was a killer on the loose who was murdering young women, shaving their heads, and removing their sweat glands. It was soon deduced that the motive behind the murders was to extract the pheromones from the bodies.

After following Dorian’s accomplice, Rex, for several days, the police were confident that the two murdered their victims in a bunker in the woods. Sunny was devastated when Juro broke up with her. She dedicated all her time to finding the murderer. After following Rex closely for some time, she decided to follow her one morning and reached a house. She called for backup, and Juro arrived on the scene. Before entering, they overheard a heated discussion. Juro and Sunny entered the apartment and got hold of Rex, but Dorian disappeared. Sunny found a bottle of perfume that Dorian had created using the scent of all the women he had murdered. She could not smell it, but the moment she rubbed it on her wrist, Juro could not resist getting physically intimate with her. Sunny decided to keep the perfume with her, and it was a secret she hoped to never give away.

A relationship based on an intoxicating smell can never last long, and Sunny knew it, but the comforting presence of Juro in her life was something she was not ready to give up on. Meanwhile, the argument between Dorian and Rex indicated that he was unsatisfied with the perfume he had created. He wanted to create the perfume of love, but he had created a perfume that turned humans wild to fulfill their intimate fantasies. “The Perfumier” is about Sunny’s journey to acquire her sense of smell and Dorian’s dream of creating a love perfume.

How Did Sunny Get Back Her Sense Of Smell?

After getting pregnant, Sunny was dreadful about the fact that she would never be able to smell her baby. She feared that she would not bond well with her child. She decided to seek help, and she believed that the only person who would be able to help her was Dorian. With his knowledge of aromatics, he could help guide Sunny to rediscover her lost sense. Sunny found him in the bunker. He looked impoverished and hopeless. But in Sunny’s presence, he rediscovered hope. He advised her to bring him materials that would help him create specific scents. It was while buying his list of goods that she found an odorless, toxic fluid and kept it close to her, knowing how dangerous the man she was dealing with was. Dorian introduced her to the six basic scents and asked her to smell them regularly twice a day. But no matter how hard Sunny tried, she could not reawaken her senses. Dorian believed she had to return to the past, which took away her sense of smell. Sunny lost it when she caught a cold as a little girl, and her parents neglected her health. Her father had abandoned them, and her mother could not take care of her. Dorian believed that it was her childhood feelings and memories that resulted in the loss. He wanted her to revisit her childhood, and only then could she regain the sense of smell that she had developed as a child. Sunny realized that it was a useless pursuit and wanted to end her deal with Dorian. He knew that if the deal ended, he could be brought to prison, so he chose to hit her with an object and push her off a wall into the woods. He was thankful to Sunny for inspiring him to create the perfume of love.

Sunny’s sense of smell was reinstated after the fall. Somehow, the physical injury helped her get back what she had lost. Her joy had no boundaries; she was just like a little girl who had the entire world to discover. Out of curiosity, she smelled the perfume of lust. Sunny had no control over her mind or her body. She was in a land of pleasure, and she thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘The Perfumier’ Ending Explained: What Were The Pearl And The Love Perfume? How Was Dorian Put Behind The Bar?

After escaping from Sunny, Dorian freed Rex from a forensic psychiatric unit. He did so with the help of a concoction he created that could induce terror in those who inhaled it. The guard collapsed as a result of a panic attack, and Rex walked out of the facility. Rex wanted back the lust perfume, and Dorian agreed to give it to them after cooking the perfume of love. The perfume of love would be delicate, just like the smell of a newborn baby. Dorian could not resist the smell of the baby. He could smell it from Sunny’s body. He could even predict the unborn baby’s age through smell.

Meanwhile, Sunny was living the best days of her life with Juro. After learning about her pregnancy, they bought a house in the country together. They lived happily there, though Sunny never stopped using the perfume. She knew that she was not just fooling Juro but also herself, but she could not resist the satisfying result. The intoxication from the perfume affected their health. Sunny’s hands were itchy, whereas Juro’s nose bled. Sunny wanted to understand Dorian. She knew he had a troubled childhood, so she decided to talk to his father. Dorian’s father was a pastor. He stated that his son was born with an unbearable stench. His stench kept people away from him. The moment Dorian realized that his body odor was the reason people stayed away from him, he tried to scrub it off. From then on, he wanted to create a human scent. He teamed up with his senior from school, Rex, and the two experimented. They tried to create the scent using a chimpanzee sent to the church. After discovering what his son was up to, he was confident that the devil had possessed Dorian. But no matter what he did, his son never stopped being strange. Dorian went back to the place where he and Rex used to experiment. He wanted to reconnect with his childhood memories. He was trying to gather the elements for the love perfume, but he was not sure of the entire formula. He named the last element of his perfume Pearl, and Rex murdered another young woman to extract pheromones.

Sunny burned down Dorian’s temple (childhood experimentation spot), and it angered him. He knew how desperate Rex was for the lust perfume, so to seek revenge, he revealed that Sunny had the perfume. When Sunny entered her house, she dropped to the floor. Rex had sprayed the room with anesthetics and tied Sunny to a chair. Instead of handing over the perfume, Sunny dropped it on the floor. Rex soaked in the perfume and went to the street, where men gathered around her. Later, it was found that Rex was torn into pieces. The perfume intoxicated the men to the extent that they wanted to consume her. Sunny broke up with Juro, realizing how harmful their relationship had gotten over time. There was a similarity between Sunny and Dorian’s lives; they both had lost the people they relied upon. As Sunny struggled with her life, she kept the little perfume she had saved and buried it underground. But it was not easy to get away from Dorian. He went to her house, requesting her to be his muse. Using the perfume of lust, he tried to manipulate her into giving herself in. But as they were kissing, Sunny stopped and exclaimed that he could never create the perfume because he did not know what love truly felt like.

Later, Dorian kidnaps Sunny’s neighbor, Stephen, whom she cares a lot about. His father was abusive, and she did her best to protect him. When he requested to stay at her country house with his girlfriend, she readily agreed. But she did not know that Dorian was waiting for her to make that mistake. Dorian had connected with a fellow perfumier, Moritz de Vries, a character played by August Diehl in the 2018 Netflix German series, “Perfume” (which is set in the same universe). Moritz, an accomplished perfumier, brought a machine for Dorian, with the help of which he could extract pheromones without having to cut into the body. The machine extracted the smell through pores. Dorian kidnapped the lovers from Sunny’s house and left their belongings there for her to come looking for them. As she entered the basement, he discussed how it was all a ploy to bring her there. He wanted Sunny to teach him the meaning of true love. He believed that she, her baby, and he were destined to be together. Sunny held his hand and crushed a glass sample container of the odorless toxic substance she had been carrying all this while. He would be unable to smell anything anymore; he had lost his special talent of distinguishing scents and navigating the world using only his sense of smell.

Dorion was imprisoned after he was found drugged in the basement. Even though he knew it was nearly impossible to fulfill his dream, he never stopped dreaming of formulating the perfume of love that he hoped to scatter all over the world so that people would no longer hate and only love would persevere. Sunny gave birth to her baby. She raised them alone. She was stronger and freer now. She could deal with the worst to protect her child, and Dorion was an example of it. She added that her baby need not worry because she had taken care of him. Even though Dorion never disclosed what the last element of his perfume of love was, we can assume that it was Sunny (or “the Pearl” as he called it). She smelled of her baby, and that was a smell he could never get over. Maybe the trap was for him to get hold of her and her unborn child. He was hesitant about the last element, indicating that it was something even worse than murdering women. A newborn is loved and adored by everyone, and we can assume that is the smell he wishes to recreate. He had the machine to extract smell through pores, making it easier for him to deal with the body and experiment. “The Perfumier” dealt with two extreme characters, one who could not smell and the other who was an expert at it. Their paths crossed, and even though Sunny could have fallen into the trap of Dorion’s fantasy, she managed to find her way and handle the situation. Dorian had never experienced love all his life. With his perfume he had hoped to get rid of hate altogether and transform the world into a loving place. The disgust and hatred he had faced as a child, in a way, resulted in his insanity. The film does not dive deep, and a lot remains untold and unexposed. It was never clearly indicated what Dorion was waiting for at the temple, nor did it mention why Rex murdered another woman and why she was an important element in producing the Perfume of Love.

“The Perfumier” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Nils Willbrandt.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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