Critic Reviews

45

Metascore

Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
60
The New Yorker
The fight against traditionalism has long been won, so the movie’s indignation feels superfluous, but Mike Newell’s direction is solid, the period décor and costumes are a sombre riot of chintz and pleated skirts, and the movie has an air of measured craft and intelligence. [22 & 29 December 2003, p. 166]
50
The Hollywood Reporter
Rote characterizations and a trite, even condescending, attitude toward that era's misguided mores robs the film of the satiric punch Todd Haynes delivered in "Far From Heaven."
50
ReelViews
The most likely facial expression to be elicited by Mona Lisa Smile is a grimace.
50
Dallas Observer
You will leave Mona Lisa Smile with only the slightest hint of the grin every slick studio movie gives you--the grin of reassurance and superiority. But you will not be changed, only out about eight bucks.
40
Maybe Wellesley isn't the only injured party here. Can an audience sue for cruel and edifying punishment?
40
Variety
An appealing female cast gives the hollowly formulaic Mona Lisa Smile more dignity than it perhaps deserves, yet it's Julia Roberts in an ill-suited starring role that represents one of the film's chief shortcomings.
40
New York Magazine (Vulture)
Director Mike Newell and screenwriters Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal should have uncorseted their own imaginations. The girls on display are all tightly stereotyped.
40
Newsweek
Newell, no hack, tries not to milk the cliches shamelessly, and that may be the movie's final undoing. Lacking the courage of its own vulgarity, Mona Lisa Smile is as tepid as old bathwater.
40
Village Voice
Mona Lisa Smile's only mysteries are the result of frenzied corner-cutting as Newell & Co. speed through the last reel, an exhausting cram session of hair-trigger speechifying and identity transformations bordering on the science-fictional.
25
Entertainment Weekly
It's a gussied-up sorority-of-rising-stars project produced, I fantasize, by baby-boomer studio guys whose younger spouses articulately defend a woman's right to stay home and raise the kids.

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