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Mona Lisa (1986)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  13 June 1986 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,029 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 58 critic

George has just been released from prison, and manages to get a job driving a call girl from customer to customer. Initially they don't get on; he doesn't fit in with the high class customers Simone services. Will they ever get on?

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Title: Mona Lisa (1986)

Mona Lisa (1986) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Cathy Tyson ...
...
Mortwell
...
Thomas
...
Anderson
...
Cathy
...
Jeannie (as Zoe Nathenson)
...
May
Rod Bedall ...
Terry
Joe Brown ...
Dudley
Pauline Melville ...
George's Wife
Hossein Karimbeik ...
Raschid
John Darling ...
Hotel Security
Bryan Coleman ...
Gentleman in Mirror Room
Robert Dorning ...
Hotel Bedroom Man
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Storyline

George, after getting out of prison, begins looking for a job, but his time in prison has reduced his stature in the criminal underworld. The only job he can find is to be a driver for Simone, a beautiful high-priced call girl, with whom he forms an at first grudging, and then real affection. Only Simone's playing a dangerous game, and when George agrees to help her, they both end up in a huge amount of trouble with Mortwell, the local kingpin. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes love is a strange and wicked game. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Мона Лиза  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,794,184 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Criterion Collection, the picture was the "breakthrough film" of director Neil Jordan. See more »

Goofs

George stops and orders Simone to get out of the car but doubles back parks and apologizes. Exhaust fumes are clearly seen from the rear of the vehicle as he left it running. When they get back in, he changes gear and pulls off into traffic. On the soundtrack however you can hear the car ignition kicking in (as in the key turning) which is inaccurate as the car engine was already turned on. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jeannie: [at her front door, to George] Yeah? Do you want mum?
See more »

Connections

Features They Live by Night (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

IN TOO DEEP
Words and Music by Genesis
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User Reviews

 
Touching and Hard Hitting.
24 October 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Mona Lisa' is a distinctly British film. In many ways it is like the social realist films of the 1960's and early 70's. The attitude taken by Neil Jordan towards the film is worth crediting, the fact that he doesn't turn it into a simple romance is refreshing, and just as it seems to be leaning that way he throws the audience in a totally different direction.

The performances are great all round. This film is another example of just how good many British actors are, and it also serves to show how disappointing the state of our countries film industry is. When films this good are produced with this much talent British film makers shouldn't have to struggle as much as they do to get films made. Bob Hoskins was nominated for an Oscar for the role of George, and was well and truly deserving of it. His performance is subtle and sensitive at times and unflinching and painful to watch at others. He is a well and truly likable character, despite his flaws, made very real by Hoskins. Michael Caine again plays a nasty piece of work, like his character in 1971's 'Get Carter'. While Caine is capable of playing characters the audience love he is also capable of doing the complete opposite and he definitely achieves that here. The sense of class that Cathy Tyson brings to the screen in this film is perfect. She plays a prostitute, Simone, but we get a sense of respectability from her for the majority of the film. She appears desperate to be a lady despite her work, and this fits well with Hoskins portrayal of his blokey and rather 'tacky' character.

Cinematography throughout the film is similar to the style seen in other British films, it's often rather drab, the film isn't in widescreen (at least the version I watched wasn't) nor is the framing of the camera particularly exciting. The lack of attractive cinematography can to an extent put viewers off, but I believe that this type of image is part of the point, it reflects the lives of the characters. There were, however, points where I thought the cinematography was highly effective, particularly where Hoskins' and Tyson's characters are attacked by Anderson in the lift.

The scripting and editing of the end of the film works well, you can feel the pace quicken suddenly, as if to say "right, its time to be an active audience". This idea if dealt with badly could go wrong and let the rest of the film down but it doesn't here and it's instead makes for an far more interesting ending that could have been otherwise. It is also uncompromisingly brutal and hard hitting, which is what I prefer to see from a drama, it's not simply run-of-the-mill.

'Mona Lisa' seems, to some extent be a very British 'Taxi Driver'. It seems a strange comparison to make in some ways as the films are so incredibly different in many ways, but the comparison is definitely there and can clearly be seen at the same time. This is not to say that Hoskins' George is anything like De Niro's Travis Bickle, he is not. 'Mona Lisa' is the type of films that I can imagine lingering with the viewer for some time. It's touching and hard hitting, like the best dramas. It comes highly recommended.

7/10


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