Claire Goldstein is a gifted pianist, but the same week that none of her friends pass a major competition, including her boyfriend Jeremy, he dumps her. An earthquake in San Francisco damages her apartment, so she must cross town to live with her parents. Her sister is about to get married; her mom is into the occult; her dad is withdrawing and losing his job. Claire obsesses about Jeremy, despite her girlfriends' advising her how to interest other men ("look mysterious, like Mona Lisa") and taking her to parties. Her sweet teacher, Bennett, gets her auditions, but she blows them off. Then, she meets Eddie. Is he the key to her rejoining the human race? Written by
When Claire puts the Tchaikovsky Competition letter on her mirror, she puts it across the corner lengthwise. In the next and subsequent shots, it can be seen sticking out of the corner endwise. See more »
I once heard someone say: "When you dim your light, so that someone else can shine, the whole world gets darker."
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"Playing Mona Lisa" is about the crucial point in your life when you're not any longer sure which direction you're heading. After graduation from music college, Claire, a gifted pianist, slightly loses it when her long-time boyfriend leaves her, her house is damaged in an earthquake and she has to move in with her slightly neurotic parents.
The movie, while having many refreshingly comic moments, is also quite serious in its theme, and deals remarkably well with Claire's attempts to get a new grip on her life. The plot-line is not too strong and is drifting along rather than developing; I don't see this as a problem, though, as it pretty much reflects both real life and Claire's lost sense of direction. Even in its darker moments, the movie retains an overall optimistic mood and never turns into a heavy problem movie; if you're looking for quick laughs or lots of action, however, this movie is not for you.
Lots of good acting from a great cast of characters. Alicia Witt is thoroughly enjoyable as Claire and guides her character remarkably through good times, bad times and mood swings. Brooke Langton and Johnny Galecki play along nicely as her very likeable friends. Great performances (as usual) from Elliot Gould as Claire's father and Harvey Fierstein as her piano teacher.
An overall quiet, but thoroughly enjoyable film which starts slowly and seriously grows on you after a while. 8/10.
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