21 user 10 critic

Playing Mona Lisa (2000)

R | | Comedy | 28 April 2000 (USA)
1:19 | Trailer
After being dumped by her boyfriend, a young talented musician (Witt) reluctantly moves back in with her parents and then stumbles into misadventures as she tries to make sense of this crazy life.


Matthew Huffman


Marni Freedman (play), Marni Freedman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alicia Witt ... Claire Goldstein
Harvey Fierstein ... Bennett
Brooke Langton ... Sabrina
Johnny Galecki ... Arthur
Ivan Sergei ... Eddie / Carl / Ben
Marlo Thomas ... Sheila Goldstein
Elliott Gould ... Bernie Goldstein
Tammy Townsend ... Alice
Molly Hagan ... Jenine Goldstein
Estelle Harris ... Aunt Velva
Pat Crawford Brown ... Grandma Ida Weinberg
Zachary Kranzler ... Jeremy
Joe Mazza Joe Mazza ... Barry / Bo
Sulo Williams Sulo Williams ... Manny
Sandra Bernhard ... Bibi Carlson


Claire Goldstein is a gifted pianist, but the same week that none of her friends pass a major competition, including her boyfriend Jeremy, he dumps her. An earthquake in San Francisco damages her apartment, so she must cross town to live with her parents. Her sister is about to get married; her mom is into the occult; her dad is withdrawing and losing his job. Claire obsesses about Jeremy, despite her girlfriends' advising her how to interest other men ("look mysterious, like Mona Lisa") and taking her to parties. Her sweet teacher, Bennett, gets her auditions, but she blows them off. Then, she meets Eddie. Is he the key to her rejoining the human race? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content, sex-related dialogue and brief language | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Lead actress Alicia Witt (Claire) is an accomplished concert pianist, and performs all of the piano-playing shown in the film. See more »


When Claire puts the Tchaikovsky Competition letter on her mirror, she puts it across the corner lengthwise. In the next and subsequent shots, it can be seen sticking out of the corner endwise. See more »


Bennett: I once heard someone say: "When you dim your light, so that someone else can shine, the whole world gets darker."
See more »


References Baywatch (1989) See more »


I Yai Yo!
Performed by Wingo
Written by Jab
See more »

User Reviews

Credible piano playing, for once
3 December 2003 | by sorabjiSee all my reviews

The movie itself is what it is. A tolerable, at times engaging chick-flick with good writing and a good balance of storylines.

As someone who's played piano most of my life, I usually roll my eyes at Hollywood's depiction of performing pianists. Usually, the pianist sways one way when they should sway the other, they gesticulate extravagently for no reason reflected in the music, or they rotate their arms back and forth like they're churning butter when they're supposed to be playing the piano.

Most of Alicia Witt's playing was believable, presumably because she was actually and in fact playing (she was classically trained and is credited as the performer in the film's credits).

The only exception I noticed: the scene where she's playing the Chopin G minor Ballade while talking in a full, articulate voice to her piano instructor (Harvey Fierstein). Not impossible, but not typical either for a pianist to whip through a pretty demanding piece such as that Chopin and carry on a full-throated conversation at the same time. To me it looked like a Victor Borge routine for just a moment.

Other then that, this film gets high marks from me for its believable piano playing. As for the rest, well, let's just say I wouldn't even be commenting on this film were it not for the goofy scene with the G Minor Ballade.

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Release Date:

28 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Two Goldsteins on Acid See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Bubble Factory See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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