Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by
Chicago Sun-Times
The characters involve us, we sympathize with their dreams and despair of their matrimonial tunnel vision, and at the end we are relieved that we listened to Miss Watson and became the wonderful people who we are today.
The reliable Mike Newell directs Mona Lisa Smile with such assurance that the important moments are never mawkish or dull, and he encourages the women to act with absolute conviction.
Director Mike Newell strips away facades and keeps this movie singing to the feel-good ending where everyone learns a life lesson by graduation time, whatever their choice may be.
For all its flaws, its obvious if irrelevant similarity to "Dead Poets Society," it lets us spend some quality time with some of the finest actresses in American film as they give energetic life to one of the most radically underrepresented minorities in Hollywood: the intelligent woman.
There's a spark missing, and where it's missing is in Roberts' conscientious but all too reserved performance.
Rather than being a fascinating exploration of a much more constrained time in our social history, the film simply feels anachronistic.
New York Daily News
A movie about a maverick ought to be a little daring as well, and Mona Lisa Smile is as safe and predictable as chintz.
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."
Philadelphia Inquirer
As artistic achievements go, Mona Lisa Smile is strictly a paint-by-numbers affair. No shading. Little in the way of perspective. To call it one-dimensional would be an act of charity.
Wall Street Journal
The performances, under Mike Newell's direction, range from conventional (Ms. Roberts) to dreadful, and the script is as shallow as an old Cosmo cover story.
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.
"Irritating" doesn't begin to describe Julia Roberts as Katherine, an art-history prof who arrives at Wellesley in 1953.

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