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Drama - Family

Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Duration1h 57m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG, Denmark 
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorMike Newell
Writers/ScriptLawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal
StarringJulia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson, Terence Rigby, Topher Grace,  
RatingsIMDb: 6.5 by 80,000 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 34% by 152 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Katherine Ann Watson takes a post as an art teacher in an up market ladies college in 1953, but when she starts on the art syllabus she finds that the know it all girls have already memorised it. Hence she moves on to more modern art and related difficult subjects. She tries to tell her students that they can aspire to more than marriage at an early age, and she herself gives up her fiancée in favour of a relationship with one of the male teachers. Her attempts to change the views of her students have mixed results and generally cause problems with the college management. How will it all end?

Content:  Despite the fact that sex is an important topic no-one gets their gear off, but there is drinking and smoking. Katherine gives art lectures and seems to provide life guidance to the young women. She interacts with Bill Dunbar the Italian tutor, a bit. There are quite a few festive gatherings with singing and dancing, one of the bands being all female. Katherine is often told off by the management of the college. She is often a shoulder to cry on when things go wrong.

A View:  The critics did  not think much of this outing, but despite costing a lot it made money. Julia Roberts and Dominic West, I think fresh from “The Wire”, seemed to be an ill matched pair who we could not really believe in and the young women were just too irritating for words. A bit of humour might have made it more bearable. The whole thing was probably made worse by the sound track of period songs, one of them being, yes, Mona Lisa. So just about a view while doing your knitting and you could watch with your granny.

Additional Info: Julia Roberts was paid $25 million for her part. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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