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Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 58,421 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 263 user | 139 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

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?


Julia Roberts' character Katherine Ann Watson states that Vincent van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime. This is incorrect. He sold one, called 'Red Vineyard at Arles' now at the Puskin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. It was exhibited in Brussels in 1890 and sold for 400 francs. See more »


The turntable tonearm is of late-1960s vintage. 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 »


Features I Love Lucy (1951) 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

A Woman Ahead of Time
5 January 2014 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1953, free spirited and non-orthodox art history teacher Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts) accepts the challenge of teaching in the conservative Wellesley College. She leaves her boy-friend Paul Moore (John Slattery) in California and share a house with the teacher Nancy Abbey (Marcia Gay Harden) and the nurse Amanda (Juliet Stevenson).

On the first day, her class fails under the leadership of the arrogant Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst) and her friends Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles) and Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), but Katherine is advised by her mates and the Italian teacher Bill Dunbar (Dominic West) to not fear the students. Soon Katherine learns that the girls are only waiting to catch Mr. Nice Guy and get married and she fights against the status- quo of Wellesley and to keep her independence.

"Mona Lisa Smile" is an entertaining movie about a woman living ahead of time in a conservative environment. The performances are top-notch, highlighting Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I bought this DVD many years ago and only today I have seen this movie recommended by a friend of mine. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Sorriso de Mona Lisa" ("The Smile of Mona Lisa")

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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