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Mona Lisa Smile (2003) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

At the wedding, champagne is served in flute glasses, which were not popular and rarely used for champagne until the 1970s, when drier vintages became preferred; instead the champagne coupe (or saucer) glass was almost universally used for serving the beverage in the 1950s, and still is in champagne fountains at weddings.
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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 even permitted to apply for Rhodes scholarships until 1977.
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When Nancy Abbey is watching I Love Lucy, the title insignia is the famous heart-on-velvet, which was used only when the show was in syndication. The original opening sequence featured advertisements for a cigarette company.
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Law schools started awarding "Juris Doctor" degrees in the 1960s. Before that, they awarded "Legum Baccalaureus" (LL.B.), or Bachelor of Laws.
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The place setting Nancy Abbey uses for her etiquette class was not manufactured prior to or during the 1950s. Although the china ("Prince Regent" by Royal Worcester) is inspired by an 1811 pattern privately commissioned by George IV as Prince Regent, it was not produced for public sale until the 1990s.
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One young woman holds up a blue plastic diaphragm case. In the 1950s, diaphragm cases were cloth or rubber. Plastic cases appeared in the 1970s.
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The turntable tonearm is of late-1960s vintage.
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The slide of the Sistine Chapel in Katherine's Christmas present is a photo of the Chapel ceiling after it was restored in the 1990s.
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At about 23 minutes into the movie, during a game, you can see a modern supermarket shopping cart.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

During Betty's wedding reception, the band plays a rousing number. The sound from the trumpets is what would be produced with a metal mute, but the trumpets have no mutes.
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When Katherine is showing the first slide of the Advertisements, we hear her say "slide", but her mouth is clearly not moving.
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During the wedding reception, when Nancy explains to Katherine that her husband didn't die in the war, a slow song is playing. For a second, the people in the background dance very quickly.
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Character error 

During the first course given by Katherine Watson, she claims that the Lascaux cave painting was discovered in 1879, actually it was discovered in 1940.
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Katherine Watson tells her class that Vincent van Gogh never sold a painting during his lifetime. He actually sold one painting, to his brother Theo, for 5 francs.
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When President Carr is dictating the invitation for Katherine's return to Wellesley, her secretary is writing in shorthand that makes absolutely no sense. The only correct word is the first, which reads "Dear".
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When Betty is typing her editorial against the school nurse, she narrates it as: "... has been willingly distributing..." but when we see what is being typed, she types "disb" as the start of "distributing."
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When Katherine Watson gives Joan Brandwyn the Yale Law School application, "juris doctor" is misspelled as "jurus doctor".
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Continuity 

During Katherine's talk with Stan, her drink alternates between being nearly full and almost empty between shots.
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When Katherine is walking along the outdoor corridor with the tile floor and columns before Bill gives her the belated Christmas present, the tile floor clearly has water puddles along it. When the camera moves to the close-up view and Bill gives the gift to Catherine, the tile floor is completely dry.
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During the Maypole dance, the first shot of the maypole already has a tight pattern made at the top. In the second shot of the maypole, the ribbons are just starting to go around the pole.
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At the Adam's Rib party, Giselle is sitting in the window, with her hair parted in the middle and her forehead visible. In the next shot, when she moves into the room, her hair is parted on one side and sweeping across her forehead.
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At a table scene with Katherine, Nancy and Bill during Betty's wedding reception, Nancy walks into the scene twice to see if Katherine wants anything to drink.
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The first day of art history class, Katherine Watson brings in two black slide cases. When is class is over, she leaves with one red slide case.
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Crew or equipment visible 

Early in the film, Giselle is running. At one point, you can clearly see the microphone taped inside her shirt.
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Errors in geography 

When Katherine visits Joan's house to show her law school brochures, there are palm plants in the front of the house. These plants would not survive in the climate of Massachusetts where the film is set.
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Factual errors 

When Doris Day's "Secret Love" plays, the record has a 1960s RCA Victor classical label. The album was produced by Columbia Records.
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Part way through the film, Katherine and friends are seen walking into a bar in Wellesley, Wellesley was a totally dry town in the 1950s.
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When Katherine Watson [Julia Roberts] is studying Joan Brandwyn's [Julia Stiles] file, it says that Joan attended Miss Porters School in Lower Merion, PA. Miss Porters School is in Farmington, CT.
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During the convocation assembly at the beginning of the film, President Carr is wearing a gown and tassel that show she has a doctoral degree, but the cap she is wearing would indicate only a masters or bachelors degree.
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Katherine Watson is harassed for introducing modern art to her students. However, Wellesley was the first liberal arts college to teach modern art, and had a well established program by 1953.
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The students depicted in the film, including extras, are almost all Caucasian. In 1953, Wellesley had a much more racially diverse student body than the movie suggests.
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Revealing mistakes 

The "AR" (Adam's Rib) party is supposed to be at 5 PM, and it's winter in New England, yet it appears to be broad daylight outside the windows.
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With the exception of Christmas break, all the bar scenes are similar. Bill is wearing the same sweater, and Katherine's hair is always half-up, her earrings are always the same (as well as in the Christmas Break scene), and her outfit is the same by adding either a coat or a vest. These are all supposed to be happening at different times but are all very similar.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

In the graduation scene, when Betty is asking Katherine Watson for the address, she is seen running out of the building, hair disheveled and no hat, but when her mother approaches her, she is wearing a purple hat like all the other girls and her hair is neat.
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Continuity 

In the graduation scene, Amanda Armstrong who was fired earlier in the movie can be seen sitting down to take a picture with the class and teachers in her cap and gown.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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