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Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 57,710 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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Title: Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

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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


They had everything. She showed them more. 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?


Producers originally applied to film at Bryn Mawr College, another one of the Seven Sisters. It is unclear why they ultimately went with Wellesley College. See more »


During the convocation assembly at the beginning of the film, President Carr wears a gown and tassel that show she has a doctoral degree, but her cap indicates a master's or bachelor's degree. 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 »


Referenced in Kingdom of the Vampire (2007) See more »


Besame Mucho
Written by Consuelo Velázquez (as Consuelo Velazquez)
Produced by Trevor Horn
Performed by Chris Isaak
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This Picture Is Better Than It Should Be
15 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is the kind of movie that is easy to pan, but deserves better. Yes, the premise is familiar, the plot is formulaic, the characters seem like you've met them before.


"The devil is in the details," as they say, and this picture has just enough surprises, just enough charm, just enough fine acting to make it worth watching. Movies do not have to be real to be worthwhile, they just have to be about real things. The questions "Mona Lisa Smile" covers are still very much with us, and may provoke considerable discussion in your house. This film is respectful enough of its subject matter and well-enough executed to make it a much better way to spend your time than most of what's out there now. Don't believe the sourpusses, this one's a good'un.

31 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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