Perfect Sense (2011)

Character: Susan
Director: David Mackenzie
Co-Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Connie Nielsen, Stephen Dillane, Denis Lawson
Written by: Kim Fupz Aakeson
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Rated R

When Susan (Eva Green), an epidemiologist, reemerges from an affair gone sour, she encounters a peculiar patient—a Glasgow truck driver who experienced a sudden, uncontrollable crying fit. Now he is calm, but he has lost his sense of smell. Susan learns there are 11 cases like him in Glasgow, 7 in Aberdeen, 5 in Dundee, and 18 in Edinburgh. In fact, Great Britain has 100 cases, with additional ones reported in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, and they all appeared in the last 24 hours. Although Susan’s encounter with Michael (Ewan McGregor), a local restaurant chef, holds the promise of new love, the world is about to change dramatically. People across the globe begin to suffer strange symptoms, affecting the emotions, then the senses.

Eva Green’s Role

Eva stars as Susan, an epidemiologist who is trying to figure out why people are losing their senses in a global epidemic. In the middle of all this, she meets a chef named Michael whom she is hesitant to start another relationship with because she was still nursing a bad breakup, but their relationship blossoms into something more until their world is turned upside down when they start losing their senses one at a time.

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Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming services

Eva Green

On her character Susan

“I thought she was quite normal. Lately I’ve played quite extreme people, a bit mad. Sometimes I felt, my God, I’m playing boring. She’s the closest character to me in real life. There’s something very simple about her. You know, we have several blockbusters that deal with the end of the world, and this one dealt with it with a refreshing new angle. I see the film as quite positive, not a dark, depressing film.”

“It is a rare treat to play someone so ‘normal’. I have been playing quite extreme characters up until now, so portraying somebody so down-to-earth was very nice indeed.”

“I think she really loves the man who just left her. In life I think you grow through the relationships, and with her, she gets bad experiences but one day she gets the lottery.”

“(She’s) a nice character, kind of damaged, her heart is broken and she doesn’t want to fall in love. It was a nice love story.”


On her preparation for the role

“I spent a few days in a lab in Glasgow with biologists and epidemiologists. It was very interesting. They had very thick Scottish accents, so sometimes it was not easy to understand them. They were funny; they had a great sense of humor. They joke about death and diseases and cancer. [laughs] You go, “Oh my God.” I think it’s to protect them. They need armor. That’s what actually struck me.”


On the uniqueness of Perfect Sense’s script

“[It’s] quite romantic, sentimental, a very great story. And very unusual. With ‘Perfect Sense’ there’s something very real. We don’t have a spaceship or something weird, it could happen, it’s very real.”

“It’s a love story with the background of a worldwide epidemic. It’s quite weird and quite beautiful. I saw it two weeks ago and I’m quite proud of it.”


David Mackenzie

On working with Eva

“Eva is somebody I’ve known a little bit socially and wanted to work with and I found a way of getting to her and she responded and that came together.”


Ewan McGregor

On working with Eva

“I loved working with Eva, she’s just fantastic, what a great girl, an interesting girl, an interesting actress. She played a part that was really challenging. I really liked her, I liked her as a person first of all, she’s very dry and witty, she has a very skewed sense of humour, which I like a lot. We started rehearsing together in Glasgow, and it was very exciting to be back in Scotland and to be there with her, I think it was her first time in Scotland, so introducing her to Scotland and Glasgow was nice. I just knew we would get on from the beginning of rehearsals. And we spent a good week or so working on the scenes and it was great we just got on.”

“She’s very natural and I like the best actors you feel like you’re really in the shoes of your character. I never got the sense that we were playing for our close up. We were living those scenes together.”


Ewen Bremner

On Eva

“I didn’t get to work with Eva on this unfortunately but I’ve met her at a few film festivals and now I’m totally in love with her.”

Eva’s character Susan
“Shut up and throw.”

“Unhappy on account of a man.”

“I’m an epidemiologist Stephen, so why am I talking to this guy?”

“How about board and lodging while we’re at it?”

“Good for you.”

“Got your own smokes tonight, Sailor?”

“My dad called everybody Sailor. He worked at the docks all his life. He never went sailing anywhere but he called everybody Sailor.”

“Death and misery.”

“Actually, I think he’s a smooth asshole.”

“I live here, so I guess you’ll have to.”

“I don’t know. I usually pick assholes.”

“Fuck you, Sailor.”

“That’s right, Sailor.”

“Then we’re fucked.”

“My dad let me shave him once. I was eight. I managed to do it without a single scratch. I was very proud. And then he went to the sink, and he shaved himself all over again as if I hadn’t been there. I was devastated.”

“My sister’s got two kids, and sometimes I hate them.”

“My ovaries are crippled.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Asshole.”

“Can you still get film for those?”

“Where are you hiding, you fucking cunt?”

“You’re all fucking liars!”
Production Trivia & Facts
Perfect Sense‘s original title is “The Last Word”.

Has a run time of 1 hour and 32 minutes.

Filmed in Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland, UK.

Is a British-Swedish-Danish-Irish co-production.

Kim Fupz Aakeson’ script was originally set in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Actor Dennis Lawson who played Michael’s boss in the film is Ewan McGregor’s (Michael) uncle in real life.

The band playing in the nightclub scene are Cruiser.

Perfect Sense marks the second collaboration between Ewan McGregor and director David Mackenzie. The first is Young Adam (2003).

Perfect Sense marks the third collaboration between Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner. They previously co-starred in Trainspotting (1996) and Black Hawk Down (2001). They would later co-star again in Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) and Trainspotting 2 (2017).

Contrary to popular belief, Eva did not do the narration in the film. It was actress Katy Engels who did the narration.

In the bathtub scene, Eva and Ewan were not eating a real bar of soap. It was a white chocolate bar sculpted to look like soap.
Awards & Nominations

BAFTA Awards, Scotland (2011)

Nominated (Audience Award)

Favourite Scottish Film

Nominated (BAFTA Scotland Award)

Best Director – David Mackenzie

Best Feature Film – Gillian Berrie (Producer)

Bratislava International Film Festival (2011)

Won (Audience Award)

International – David Mackenzie

Edinburgh International Film Festival (2011)

Won (Best New British Feature)

Best Film – David Mackenzie, Gillian Berrie

Philadelphia Film Festival (2011)

Won (Audience Award – Honorable Mention)

Spotlights – David Mackenzie

Critics on Eva Green’s performance

Matt Glasby, Total Film

“McGregor and Green’s hearts may be broken but their bodies are alive; the chemistry they fire up offers the frisson of visceral, believable human connection.”

Daniel Fienberg, HitFix

“Green and McGregor are the only developed characters and both actors do strong work with parts that build to one emotional high-wire moment after another. Green has a couple good moments with an under-utilized Stephen Dillane, while McGregor has a welcome “Trainspotting” reunion with Ewen Bremner, who contributes a few funny moments.”

Jack Giroux, Film School Rejects

“Ewan McGregor and Eva Green are excellent; effectively bittersweet; approaches human’s ability to adapt in both clever ways; great ending.”

JimmyO, JoBlo

“Frankly, the one element that is near perfect is Eva Green in a very impressive performance. Her Susan is an honest and flawed woman placed in the midst of what could possibly be the end of the world. While it seems like a scientist would have more on her mind than dating and sex with the widespread loss of sense going on – and the fact that she and McGregor’s Michael don’t always work – she somehow manages to make it credible.”