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Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 57,743 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 262 user | 139 critic | 40 from

A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
President Jocelyn Carr
Donna Mitchell ...
Terence Rigby ...
Dr. Edward Staunton
Girl at the Station
Leslie Lyles ...
Housing Director


Katherine Ann Watson has accepted a position teaching art history at the prestigious Wellesley College. Watson is a very modern woman, particularly for the 1950s, and has a passion not only for art but for her students. For the most part, the students all seem to be biding their time, waiting to find the right man to marry. The students are all very bright and Watson feels they are not reaching their potential. Altough a strong bond is formed between teacher and student, Watson's views are incompatible with the dominant culture of the college. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a world that told them how to think, she showed them how to live. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and thematic issues | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sonrisa de Mona Lisa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,528,498 (USA) (19 December 2003)


$11,289 (Hong Kong) (30 April 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The war story that Bill Dunbar tells during his Italian class is borrowed from the World War I novel "All Quiet On The Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. See more »


During the wedding reception, when Nancy explains to Katherine that her husband didn't die in the war, a slow song is playing. For a second, the people in the background dance very quickly. See more »


[first lines]
Betty Warren: [voiceover] All her life, she had wanted to teach at Wellesley College. So, when a position opened in the Art History department, she pursued it single-mindedly until she was hired. It was whispered that Katherine Watson, a first-year teacher from Oakland State, made up in brains what she lacked in pedigree. Which was why this bohemian from California was on her way to the most conservative college in the nation.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits for the prominent cast and crew are set in front of vintage footage and advertisements showing women in the 1940s and 50s. See more »


References What's My Line? (1950) See more »


Santa Baby
Written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer (as Phil Springer), and Tony Springer
Produced by Trevor Horn
Performed by Macy Gray
Courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

23 December 2003 | by (massachusetts) – See all my reviews

Beautiful to look at, otherwise this depiction of 1950s life is a fantasy...and an airheaded, cliched one to boot. Language and behavior are 90s/millennial, not the 50s. (Just a small example: "disrespect" would never have been used as a verb in the 1950s -- not that it should be used so now either, but that's another issue.) If one's going to do a period piece (essentially a costume drama), it would be nice to have some knowledge about the history and lives of the period. Rent "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and "The Group" instead if you want inside info on girls'/women's education -- on opposite ends of the quality drama spectrum but both very daring in their own rights. Mona Lisa Smile is not daring. But it is very pretty to look at.

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