A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".
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
The students depicted in the film, including extras, are almost all Caucasian. In 1953, Wellesley's student body was much more racially diverse than the movie suggests. See more »
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.
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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 »
Mona Lisa Smile is a beautiful film. The whole setting of the liberal arts college, the 50s conservative setup in which the college dwells so firmly in, and the magical aura of a bygone era captivates you right form the start of the film. Top that with some beautiful photography, a nice gripping story and some convincing performances and you've got a great film.
The focus of the film is primarily on the somewhat radical character of Dr Watson (played with finesse by Julia Roberts)and how she deals with the conservative environs of Wellesley College. She is able to build a great rapport with her students, something which happens rather spontaneously and is not explained - one of the flaws in the film. Eventually though , she must face the conservative forces in the college and decide whether she can bend her values and beliefs in order to stay on at the college.
This is one of the better offerings from Hollywood in recent times. Definitely not a "chick flick".
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