6.4/10
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Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

PG-13 | | Drama | 19 December 2003 (USA)
A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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President Jocelyn Carr
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Mrs. Warren
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Dr. Edward Staunton
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Girl at the Station
Leslie Lyles ...
Housing Director
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

19 December 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sonrisa de Mona Lisa  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$63,695,760 (USA) (20 February 2004)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lecture Hall scenes were filmed at Columbia University, which maintains a 50-year-old lecture hall used in many different films. See more »

Goofs

During the slide show, Dr. Watson says "A Rhodes scholar. I wonder if she recites Geoffrey Chaucer while she presses her husband's shirts". Women were not permitted to apply for Rhodes scholarships until 1977. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.195 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

'S Wonderful
Written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
Produced by Trevor Horn
Performed by The Trevor Horn Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A well-made Wellesley College period piece.
4 July 2004 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

I liked Julia Roberts less in her earlier movies, I like her more now that she is playing older and flawed characters, like the new professor of Art History in 1953 Wellesley College in "Mona Lisa Smile." And the title does not refer to her, instead it is embedded in remarks in the screenplay about the actual painting of The Mona Lisa. Not everything turns out well in this movie, it more closely reflects real life than do many of the modern romantic comedies. This one is NOT a romantic comedy, although it does include several romances, and there are some funny parts. It is more a serious drama about life and growing up, both from the perspectives of the undergraduates, and the new professor. I bought the DVD, the picture and sound are fine, and there are several interesting extras on the making of this movie, and the work done to get the period correct.

I don't share the many negative comments about this movie. It is a fine drama, one that merits repeat viewings once or twice a year. It is NOT simply a 'Dead Poet's Society' for the girls. To call it that is to overlook all the fine, unique points about this movie.

Update: Saw it again March 2013, I enjoyed it as much as the first two times.

Update: Saw it again June 2017, I enjoyed it as much as the first three times.


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