Comments on Mona Lisa Smile

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Film Review
--Be ourselves
The story took pace in 1953, when the second women's liberation gradually arisen. However, some educational institution in American, expecially Wellesley College, the most conservative college in the nation, still tenaciously performed the mission that male society endowed: to cultivate women with both moral integrity and professional competence. When Katherine Watson, a first –year teacher from Oakland State, who always sought truth beyond tradition, got a position in the Art History department in Wellesley College, contradiction between her feminist thought and students under the influence of male chauvinism was stirring.

Most of students in Wellesley College were well educated with fine family background. They gave Katherine a caution in the first class. In their mind, the definition of success was to marry a good man and the role they born to fill was to be a good wife. In this conservative situation, Katherine tried to open her students’ mind to do whatever they want. She encouraged her students to be themselves, to become professionals in field they loved, to improve their economic futures.

It seemed that she used her art teaching as a vehicle to put across her opinion to the young women that women were not born to become housewives and mothers. Katherine wanted to make a difference and do more things in life rather than solely adopt the roles of wives and mothers.

I can never forget she showed her students carcass by Soutine 1925, and said, “There’s also no textbook telling you what to think”. In those girls opinion, the carcass can not be called art; “there is something aggressive about it and erotic”. I asked myself, what is art? Can a conservative artist become a successful artist?

I can never forget, in one scene of the movie, she showed her students four newspaper ads, and asked what future scholars would think of the idea that women were born to be housewives and mothers. From her tearful eyes, I can see...
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