Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Betty Warren: My teacher, Katherine Watson, lived by her own definition, and would not compromise that. Not even for Wellesley. I dedicate this, my last editorial, to an extraordinary woman who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes. By the time you read this, she'll be sailing to Europe, where I know she'll find new walls to break down and new ideas to replace them with. I've heard her called a quitter for leaving, an aimless wanderer. But not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition; beyond definition; beyond the image.
[about a contemporary abstract painting]
Giselle Levy: That's Jackson Pollock.
Susan Delacorte: In a word.
Connie Baker: I was just getting used to the idea of dead, maggoty meat being art. Now this?
Susan Delacorte: Please don't tell me we have to write a paper about it.
Katherine Watson: Do me a favor. Do yourselves a favor. Stop talking, and look. You're not required to write a paper. You're not even required to like it. You *are* required to consider it.
[about Vincent van Gogh]
Katherine Watson: He painted what he felt, not what he saw. People didn't understand, to them it seemed childlike and crude. It took years for them to recognize his actual technique. To see the way his brush strokes seemed to make the night sky move. Yet, he never sold a painting in his lifetime. This is his self-portrait. There's no camouflage, no romance. Honesty. Now, sixty years later, where is he?
Giselle Levy: Famous.
Katherine Watson: So famous, in fact, that everybody has a reproduction. There are post cards...
Connie Baker: We have the calendar.
Katherine Watson: you go. With the ability to reproduce art, it is available to the masses. No one needs to own a van Gogh original, they can paint their own. Van Gogh in a box, ladies! The newest form of mass-distributed art; paint by numbers.
Connie Baker: [reading from the box] "Now everyone can be van Gogh. It's so easy. Just follow the simple instructions and in minutes, you're on your way to being an artist."
Giselle Levy: Van Gogh by numbers?
Katherine Watson: Ironic, isn't it? Look at what we have done to the man who refused to conform his ideals to popular taste. Who refused to compromise his integrity. We have put him in a tiny box and asked you to copy him.
Katherine Watson: Since your wedding, you've missed six classes, a paper and your midterm.
Betty Warren: I was on my honeymoon and then I had to set up house. What does she expect?
Katherine Watson: Attendance.
Connie Baker: [timidly] Most of the faculty turn their heads when the married students miss a class or two.
Katherine Watson: Well then why not get married as freshman? That way you could graduate without actually ever stepping foot on campus.
Betty Warren: Don't disregard out traditions just because you're subversive.
Katherine Watson: Don't disrespect this class just because you're married.
Betty Warren: Don't disrespect me just because you're not.
Katherine Watson: Come to class, do the work, or I'll fail you.
Betty Warren: If you fail me, there will be consequences.
Katherine Watson: Are you threatening me?
Betty Warren: I'm educating you.
Katherine Watson: That's *my* job.
Katherine Watson: It's brilliant, really. A perfect ruse. A finishing school disguised as a college. Well, they got me.
Bill Dunbar: What do you expect?
Katherine Watson: More! I thought I was headed to a place that would turn out tomorrow's leaders, not their wives!
[about the Mona Lisa]
Betty Warren: [ironically] Look at this, mother. She's smiling. Is she happy?
Mrs. Warren: The important thing is not to tell anyone.
Betty Warren: She looks happy, so what does it matter?
Charlie Stewart: My parents say my future is right on the horizon.
Connie Baker: Tell them the horizon is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it.
Connie Baker: And, it was perfect, romantic, we stayed up all night, talking.
Joan Brandwyn: [to Giselle] You're late, what happened to Sunday brunch?
Giselle Levy: We stayed up all night, too. Not talking.
Connie Baker: The psychoanalyst again.
Giselle Levy: Divine exhaustion.
[Giselle has been secretly seeing a married psychologist]
Betty Warren: Does he pay you for sex? I mean, at the rate you're going, you could make a fortune.
Joan Brandwyn: Betty!
Betty Warren: Everyone thinks so. Do you know what they say? They say you're a whore. And pretty soon, once they've all sampled you, they'll toss you aside like a used rag.
Joan Brandwyn: Betty, stop! Now!
Betty Warren: The men you love don't even want you! Your father doesn't want you!
Giselle Levy: [to Connie] I'm gonna meet you downstairs.
Betty Warren: Professor Dunbar?
Connie Baker: Betty, that's enough!
Betty Warren: Everyone knows that you hide outside his house! It must be torturous running after a man who doesn't even care about you. Who's in love with someone else. Who hates you!
Giselle Levy: Betty...
Betty Warren: He *hates* you!
[Giselle pulls Betty into a hug]
Betty Warren: Get off of me!
[Betty struggles, but gives in a sobs on Giselle's shoulder]
Betty Warren: [about her husband] He doesn't want me!
Giselle Levy: [sympathetically] I know...
Katherine Watson: Slide. Contemporary art.
Connie Baker: Now that's just an advertisement.
Katherine Watson: Quiet! Today you just listen. What will the future scholars see when they study us? A portrait of woman today? There you are ladies. The perfect likeness of a Welesley graduate, Magna Cum Laude doing exactly what she was trained to do. Slide. A Rhodes scholar. I wonder is she recited Chaucer while she presses her husband's shirts. Slide. Heh, now you physics major's can calculate the mass and volume of every meat loaf you ever make. Slide. A girdle to set you free! What does that mean?... What does that mean?... What does it mean? I give up. You win. The smartest women in the country... I didn't realize that by demanding excellence I would be challenging... what did it say?
[walks over to student's desk and picks up newspaper]
Katherine Watson: what did it say? um... the roles you were born to fill
[looks up at Betty]
Katherine Watson: is that right? the roles you were born to fill?... It's uh it's my mistake.
[drops paper and walks out of classroom]
Katherine Watson: Class dismissed.
Katherine Watson: It says here that you're pre-law. What law school are you going to go to?
Joan Brandwyn: I hadn't really thought about that. After I graduate, I plan on getting married.
Katherine Watson: And then?
Joan Brandwyn: [confused] And then... I'll be married.
Susan Delacorte: [Katherine shows the class a painting of a rotting animal] What is that?
Katherine Watson: You tell me. "Carcass", by Soutine, 1925.
Susan Delacorte: It's not on the syllabus.
Katherine Watson: No it's not. Is it any good? Hm? C'mon, ladies, there's no wrong answer. There's also no textbook telling you what to think. It's not that easy, is it?
Betty Warren: Alright, no. It's not good. In fact, I wouldn't even call it art. It's grotesque.
Connie Baker: Is there a rule against art being grotesque?
Giselle Levy: I think there's something aggressive about it. And erotic.
Betty Warren: To you, everything is erotic.
Giselle Levy: Everything *is* erotic.
Susan Delacorte: Aren't there standards?
Betty Warren: Of course there are! Otherwise, a tacky velvet painting could be equated to a Rembrandt!
Connie Baker: Hey, my Uncle Ferdie has two tacky velvet paintings. He loves those clowns.
Betty Warren: There *are* standards! Technique, composition, color, even subject. So, if you're suggesting that rotted side of meat is art, much less *good* art, then what are we going to learn?
Katherine Watson: Just that. You have outlined our new syllabus, Betty, thank you. What is art? What makes it good or bad, and who decides?
Katherine Watson: Look beyond the paint. Let us try to open our minds to a new idea.
Katherine Watson: I don't think I can go a year without a hot plate.
Betty Warren: [in Betty's last editorial] Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.
Taxi Driver: Get the hell out of the way.
Betty Warren: I'll never forget you.
Betty Warren: Dear Betty, I came to Wellesley because I wanted to make a difference. But to change for others is to lie to yourself. My teacher, Katherine Watson, lived by her own definition and would not compromise that, not even for Wellesley. I dedicate this, my last editorial, to an extraordinary woman, who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes. By the time you read this, she'll be sailing to Europe, where I know she'll find new walls to break down, and new ideas to replace them with.
Betty Warren: I've heard her called a quitter for leaving and aimless wanderer. But not all who wander are aimless, especially those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image. I'll never forget you.
Betty Warren: [in Betty's second editorial] Wellesley girls who are married have become quite adept at balancing their obligations. One hears such comments, as - I'm able to baste the chicken with one hand and outline the paper with the other. While our mothers were called to workforce for Lady Liberty. It is our duty- nay, obligation to reclaim our place in the home, bearing the children that will carry our traditions into the future. One must pause to consider why Miss Katherine Watson, instructor in the art history department has decided to declare war on the holy sacrament of marriage. Her subversive and political teachings encourage our Wellesley girls to reject the roles they were born to fill.
Betty Warren: [Betty's Third Editorial Voice Over] Wellesley girls who are married have become quite adept at balancing their obligations. One hears such comments as, "I'm able to baste the chicken with one hand and outline the paper with the other." While our mothers were called to the workforce for lady liberty it is our duty, nay, obligation to reclaim our place in the home bearing the children that will carry our traditions into the future. One must pause to consider why; Ms. Katherine Watson, instructor in the art history department, has decided to declare war on the holy sacrament of marriage. Her subversive and political teachings encourage our Wellesley girls to reject the roles they were born to fill.
Katherine Watson: Slide - Contemporary art...
Connie Baker: No, that's just an advertisement...
Katherine Watson: Quiet. Today you just listen. What will future scholars see when they study us, a portrait of women today? There you are ladies: the perfect likeness of a Wellesley graduate, Magna Cum Laude, doing exactly what she was trained to do. Slide - a Rhodes Scholar, I wonder if she recites Chaucer while she presses her husband's shirts. Slide - hehe, now you physics majors can calculate the mass and volume of every meatloaf you make. Slide - A girdle to set you free. What does that mean? What does that mean? What does it mean? I give up, you win. The smartest women in the country, I didn't realize that by demanding excellence I would be challenging... what did it say?
[Walks over to a student and picks up her copy of the editorial]
Katherine Watson: What did it say? Um... the roles you were born to fill. Is that right?
[Looks up at Betty]
Katherine Watson: The roles you were born to fill? It's, uh, it's my mistake.
[Katerine drops the student's paper back onto her desk]
Katherine Watson: Class dismissed.
[Katherine walks out of the classroom]
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.
Staunton's Secretary: I was in California once. How do you get any work done with all that sunshine?
Katherine Watson: We tan in class.
Giselle Levy: [in reference to the husband in etiquette class] Whatever you do, don't put the boss's wife next to your husband.
Betty Warren: Why not?
Giselle Levy: She's screwing him.
Katherine Watson: [about Betty's Wedding] This is quite the event. I'm surprised I was invited.
Bill Dunbar: Well, look around you.
Bill Dunbar: Who wasn't?
Bill Dunbar: [In reference to Betty's future in laws] Did you ever hear the phrase "Keeping up with the Jones'"
[points to the Jones]
Bill Dunbar: Mr and Mrs Jones the actual historic family they named the phrase after.
Katherine Watson: These girls! Are you proud, President Carr?
President Jocelyn Carr: Yes, actually, I am.
Katherine Watson: Well, you should be, I guess. Half of them are already married, and the other half, oh just give it a month or so! I mean, it's really only a matter of time! That's what they're doing here, right, they're just biding their time until somebody proposes!
President Jocelyn Carr: A hundred years ago, it was inconceivable for a woman to *be* a college graduate! I think, perhaps, you should look back to see how far we've come!
Katherine Watson: Well, I'm sorry, from where I sit it's just a different kind of corset.
President Jocelyn Carr: Well, we can all use a little support.
Katherine Watson: Oh, like the kind you gave Amanda Armstrong?
President Jocelyn Carr: She broke the law!
Katherine Watson: According to Betty Warren!
Betty Warren: Katherine Watson didn't come to Wellesley to fit in. She came because she wanted to make a difference.
Katherine Watson: Katherine Watson, nice to meet you.
Giselle Levy: Dr. Watson, I presume?
[the class laughs]
Katherine Watson: Not yet.
Katherine Watson: From the beginning, man has always had the impulse to create are. Can anyone tell me what this?
Joan Brandwyn: "Wounded Bison", Altameera, Spain, about 1500 BC.
Katherine Watson: Very good, Joan. Despite the age of these paintings, they are technically very sophisticated...
Joan Brandwyn: Because of the shading, and the thickness of the lines as it moves over the hump of the bison. Is that right?
Katherine Watson: Yes, that's exactly right. Next slide. This one, you are probably less familiar with. It was discovered by archaeologists in...
Betty Warren: [dryly] 1879, Lascaux, France, dates back to 10 000 BC, singled out because of the flowing lines depicting the movement of the animal.
[the class laughs]
Katherine Watson: Impressive. Name?
Betty Warren: "Herd of Horses."
Katherine Watson: I meant yours.
Giselle Levy: We call her Flicka.
Dr. Edward Staunton: I'm curious about the subject of your dissertation. You suggest 'Picasso will do for the twentieth century what Michael Angelo did for the renaissance"?
Katherine Watson: In terms of influencing movements.
Dr. Edward Staunton: So, these canvases they're turning out these days with paint dripped and splotched on them, they're as worthy of our attention as Michael Angelo's Sistine Chapel?
Katherine Watson: I'm not comparing them.
[referring to a childlike drawing of a cow]
Katherine Watson: 25 years ago, someone thought this was brilliant.
Connie Baker: I can see that.
Betty Warren: Who?
Katherine Watson: My mother. I painted it for her birthday. Next slide. This is my mom. Is it art?
Susan Delacorte: It's a snapshot.
Katherine Watson: If I told you Ansel Adams had taken it, would that make a difference?
Betty Warren: Art isn't art until someone says it is.
Katherine Watson: It's art!
Betty Warren: The right people.
Katherine Watson: And who are they?
Giselle Levy: Betty Warren! We're so lucky we have one of them right here.
Connie Baker: [reading from an advertisement] "When your courses are set and a dreamboat you've met, have a real cigarette! Have a Camel!" I've got my courses, I've got my Camel cigarette. Where the hell is my dreamboat?
Connie Baker: [holding up a diaphragm] This isn't what I think it is, is it?
Joan Brandwyn: Where'd you get it?
Giselle Levy: From the school nurse.
Betty Warren: It's against the law!
Giselle Levy: No, honey, it's a girl's best friend.
Betty Warren: A certain kind of girl.
Giselle Levy: Meet the last virgin bride.
Betty Warren: Spencer is a gentleman.
Giselle Levy: And even gentlemen have dicks.
Connie Baker: Maybe I'll get one!
Giselle Levy: What, a dick?
Betty Warren: Don't be stupid, Connie!
Connie Baker: [hurt] Someone, somewhere, someday might be interested. Just in case, I'll be prepared.
[Connie leaves, fighting back tears]
Joan Brandwyn: Was that necessary?
Betty Warren: I was taught it's best to speak honestly.
Giselle Levy: You're a bitch.
Joan Brandwyn: You gave me a C.
Katherine Watson: I'm kind.
Joan Brandwyn: The assignment was to write about Bruegel. That's what I did.
Katherine Watson: No, what you did was copy Strauss.
Joan Brandwyn: I was referencing an expert.
Katherine Watson: If I wanted to know what he thought, I'd buy his book.
Joan Brandwyn: I've got a secret to tell you. I got accepted early to Yale Law School.
Betty Warren: To *what*? Why? You don't want to be a lawyer!
Joan Brandwyn: Maybe I do.
Betty Warren: You won't switch brands of cold cream without asking me, but you applied to law school?
Joan Brandwyn: On a lark. We never thought I'd get in.
Betty Warren: Who's 'we'?
Joan Brandwyn: Miss Watson. She practically filled out my application for me.
Betty Warren: You've got to be kidding me. What right does she have? You're getting married!
Joan Brandwyn: First of all, there's no ring on this finger. Second, I can do both. I can!
Betty Warren: You are this close to getting you ever wanted. And this close to losing it.
Betty Warren: You don't believe in withholding, do you?
Katherine Watson: No. I do, however, believe in good manners. But for you, I'll make an exception.
[about Charlie Stewart]
Connie Baker: We spent last weekend at the Cape! A little hideaway he knew about.
Betty Warren: Operative word, 'hide'. Men take women to the Cape in the winter when they're embarrassed to be seen with them. He's using you.
Giselle Levy: He's not using you if you want to go. Come here, don't listen to her.
Betty Warren: I love you, and I swear I'm not saying this to hurt you. Charlie's promised to Deb McIntyre. She wears his pin. Giselle, you know it's true.
Giselle Levy: I don't know anything about a pin.
Connie Baker: Are her parents named Phillip and Vanessa?
Betty Warren: You know them?
Connie Baker: Only from a distance.
Betty Warren: Have you seen Spencer?
Connie Baker: [in tears] No. But I did see Charlie Stewart. And he told me that he and Deb broke up last summer. And you told me that they were together when he invited me to the Cape.
Betty Warren: Oh Connie, I don't keep track of his dates. They've been on-again, off-again for the past few years.
Connie Baker: No, no apparently they've been off-again for a while. For quite a while.
Betty Warren: So?
Connie Baker: So you made me believe that he was hiding me! Either way, why couldn't you let me be happy?
Bill Dunbar: [to Katherine] You didn't come to Wellesley to help people find their way. You came to Wellesley to help people find *your* way.
Betty Warren: Miss Watson, can you help me get in touch with that friend of yours in Greenwich Village?
Mrs. Warren: Oh, what do you need in Greenwich Village?
Betty Warren: An apartment. I filed for a divorce this morning. And since we know I'm not welcome in your house. You remember Giselle Levy? What did you call her? "A New York Kike", that's it. Well, we're going to be room mates.
Katherine Watson: There are seven law schools within 45 minutes of Philadelphia. You can study and get dinner on the table by 5:00.
Joan Brandwyn: It's too late.
Katherine Watson: No, some of them accept late admissions! Now, I was upset at first, I can tell you that. When Tommy came to me at the dance and told me he was accepted to Penn, I thought, 'Oh God, her fate is sealed! She's worked so hard, how can she throw it all away?' But then I realized you won't have to! You can bake your cake and eat it too! It's just wonderful!
Joan Brandwyn: We're married. We eloped over the weekend. Turned out he was petrified of a bit ceremony, so we did a sort of spur-of-the-moment thing. Very romantic.
[Katherine is stunned]
Joan Brandwyn: It was my choice, not to go. He would have supported it.
Katherine Watson: But you don't have to choose!
Joan Brandwyn: No, I have to. I want a home, I want a family! That's not something I'll sacrifice.
Katherine Watson: No one's asking you to sacrifice that, Joan. I just want you to understand that you can do both.
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I'd regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn't say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don't. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.
Katherine Watson: I can assure all of you this is the place I want to be more than anything.
Amanda Armstrong: [to Katherine] Be careful, they can smell fear.
Katherine Watson: [to Bill] To hell with Wellesley. I'm done! Damn it!
Giselle Levy: Do I look a little bit like her? I think she's fabulous.
Katherine Watson: You can confirm to what other people expect of you, or...
Betty Warren: I know. Be ourselves.
Katherine Watson: See past the paint. Let's open our minds to a different idea.
Connie Baker: Do you swear not to repeat what you see or smell here tonight?
Katherine Watson: Smell?
Connie Baker: Yes, smell. Hands up.
Bill Dunbar: So how does a guy get to know you better, then?
Katherine Watson: Well, let me see. That's a good idea.
Bill Dunbar: [to Katherine] This place needs you, Katherine. We all do.