Mona Lisa Smile is a funny, inspiring and uplifting film about an art history professor with a lot to teach about life and much to learn about love. Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), a recent graduate is hired to teach art history at the prestigious all-female Wellesley College in 1953. Determined to confront the outdated values of society and the institution that embraces them, Katherine inspires her traditional minded students to challenge the lives they are expected to lead.
A poor clone of Dead Poets Society
- Mona Lisa Smile review by Shatner's Bassoon
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You rated this film: 2
There isn't much original about 'Mona Lisa Smile' at all. The story of 'a good hearted yet radical and initially misunderstood teacher trying to make a difference to the lives of troubled students, all the while battling the conservative school establishment' has been done many a time before, and it's pretty obvious that 'Mona Lisa Smile' is not much more than a feminist version of 'Dead Poets Society'. But everything that made 'Dead Poets Society' a great film, the agony of being a teenager and living with parental expectations, is sadly lacking in this film. What you are left with is a rather pedestrian, by the numbers film that thinks it has a powerful message to tell, but in the end fails miserably.
I was disappointed - there seemed to be a big budget, and Julia Roberts acted her heart out. However, this was a film where I never felt convinced or involved - possibly the whole exagerated caricature of 1950's aspirations was partly responsible for this.