The Perfumier is a German thriller based on a woman looking to regain her sense of smell and a deranged perfume maker with a horrifying motive. The film is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Sunny is a detective who has always rued her inability to smell anything. She is part of an affair with her colleague, Juro, but her regret at not being able to smell even creeps into their conversation.
Juro has decided to leave her to be with his wife, Rosa, and kids, leaving Sunny heartbroken.
One day, she finds a corpse whose sweat glands and skin had been harvested by the killer. Sunny quickly realises that this was done for the scent.
The murderer is Rex, who committed the crime to help Dorian, a perfume maker, create the perfect scent that can make people fall in love with whomever it is sprayed on.
When Sunny finds Rex, she is going insane trying to save something. Dorian’s experiment has been a failure, and instead of love, the scent induces sexual desires.
Sunny realises that a whiff of it attracts Juro to her. She keeps the vial with her and doesn’t disclose this information to anybody. Rex is arrested and contained in a psychiatric ward.
Using the perfume, she forces Juro to remain with her. However, this union isn’t the same and feels hollow to Sunny. The situation escalates when she gets pregnant.
Sunny’s friend, Stefan, is being assaulted by his father, which is forcing her to question the idea of parenthood.
But what haunts Sunny the most is not being able to smell her baby. Desperate to regain her sense of smell, she tracks down Dorian, who becomes her mentor.
He puts her through rigorous experimentation of repeated experience with the six basic fragrances, but this turns out to be unsuccessful.
Dorian traces the origin of the loss. Sunny lost her sense of smell after a cold at the age of seven. He deduces that she must experience the scents that she did before she was seven once again to get it back.
But before going further, he attacks her and she loses consciousness. He throws her into a pool of water, but she survives, along with her unborn child, and ends up regaining her sense of smell.
She quickly returns to Juro and sleeps with him. Dorian is able to sense that Sunny survived the fall. Rex escapes the psychiatric ward.
Sunny meets Dorian’s father, who tells her that his real name is Noah. He had a stench from birth, which repelled everyone. This is why he wants to be loved.
Dorian is looking to make another attempt at the love potion, and believes he now has the secret to creating it successfully, which he calls ‘pearl’.
Rex is craving the sex perfume Sunny kept with her. She breaks the entirety of it, and both of them start to lose their mind, especially Rex as she takes in most of it.
When Rex leaves the place, the powerful scent attracts strangers to her. The amount of perfume on her causes drastic effects. Instead of just sexual desires, they devour and kill her.
The Perfumier ending explained in detail:
What is Dorian’s plan?
Sunny sees that Juro thinks he’s going insane. Realising that she had taken the wrong path, she leaves him for good. Both Dorian and Sunny have lost their closest support now.
Dorian cannot harvest the skin and sweat glands himself and seeks Sunny’s help to carry it out, as well as another perfume maker, Mortiz De Vries.
He finds Sunny and uses the sex perfume, but she manages to resist it and claims he cannot create a love perfume, because he cannot love anybody himself.
De Vries finds Dorian and offers a machine that can harvest the material from corpses without harming the bodies. He asks Dorian what Pearl is.
Despite his pestering, Dorian refuses to reveal the secret ingredient. De Vries says “beaux jours sont finis,” meaning ‘good days are over,’ due to his disappointment at this.
When Dorian asks him if he can make the perfume if he does not understand love, he simple replies ‘What’s up with love and people’, leaving Dorian in anguish.
What is ‘Pearl’, the secret ingredient for Dorian’s love perfume?
Getting desperate for Sunny, Dorian abducts Stefan and his girlfriend, Jackie, to lure her to him. He uses the machine to harvest Jackie’s body right in front of him.
Sunny tracks him down. Dorian thanks her for giving him the inspiration for coming up with ‘Pearl’. She finds the corpses of Stefan and Jackie.
He reveals that the ‘Pearl’ is her baby. Ever since they met, he has realised that the scent of the baby is what is needed to make the love perfume. He thinks of the three of them as family.
Horrified, Sunny uses an odourless toxic substance to take away what made Dorian extraordinary; his sense of smell. This effectively kills his dream of making the love perfume.
What happens to Sunny and Dorian at the end?
Sunny reveals that nobody ever came to know the whole truth, not even Juro, the father of her baby. Dorian is arrested for killing Stefan and Jackie.
In jail, Dorian declares that his dream cannot be imprisoned. He thinks to himself that he and Sunny will one day build a hot air balloon and scatter his love perfume across the world to turn all hate into love.
The entire plot was a story narrated by Sunny to her child. In the end, she says they don’t need to be afraid, bringing the film to a close.