Mona Lisa Smile Review

Topics: Mona Lisa Smile, Mona Lisa, Marcia Gay Harden Pages: 6 (1974 words) Published: September 17, 2010
Directed By
Mike Newell
Written By
Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal
Produced By
Richard Barrata (co-producer)
Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (producer)
Joe Roth (executive producer)
Paul Schiff (producer)
Deborah Schindler (producer)
Original Music By
Rachel Portman
Cinematography By
Anastas N. Michos
Film Editing By
Mick Audsley

The Cast

Julia Roberts as Katherine Ann Watson

Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy Abbey

Ginnifer Goodwin as Connie Baker

Kirsten Dunst as Betty Warren

Juliet Stevenson as Amanda Armstrong

Julia Stiles as Joan Brandwyn

Dominic West as Bill Dunbar

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Giselle Levy

Summary Of The Movie
In Mona Lisa Smile, Julia Roberts leads an all-star cast of prominent young actresses including Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal and newcomer Ginnifer Goodwin, in a story of women struggling to define themselves in a world that has already defined them. Katherine Watson (Roberts) travels from California to the New England campus of Wellesley College, in the fall of 1953, to teach art history. In the post-war era, Katherine expects that her students, the best and the brightest in the country, will take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Soon after her arrival, however, Katherine discovers that the environment at the prestigious institution is steeped in conformity. According to their poise and elocution, teacher Nancy Abbey (Marcia Gay Harden), an engagement ring on a young woman's finger is considered a bigger prize than a well-rounded education. When Katherine encourages her students to think independently, she runs afoul of the more conservative faculty and alumni, including one of her students, the upper crust Betty Warren (Dunst). The recently married, Betty becomes a formidable adversary when Katherine persuades her best friend, Joan Brandwyn (Stiles), to apply to Yale Law School - even as Joan is awaiting a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend. For the smart and provocative Giselle Levy (Gyllenhaal), Katherine becomes a much-needed role model and mentor. The sweet and shy Connie Baker (Goodwin) also draws courage from Katherine's example and gains the confidence to break through her insecurities. In a world that told them how to live, Katherine teaches them how to think for themselves. Through her students' trials to find their own way, Katherine learns to chart a different course for herself as well.

Review Of The Movie

World War II had been the first time in history when women were told they could do a man's job. They took off their corsets and took over the factories. Then, after the war, they were re-corseted with clear roles as housewives who supported their husbands and raised their children. On the surface it all seemed fine, but underneath the seeds were planted for the next generation.

Mona Lisa Smile is an exploration of a time and place, after the war, where rebellion and individuality were very much frowned upon, yet the seeds of change had already taken root. The protagonist of the motion picture, Katherine Watson (played by Julia Roberts), is shown to be one of the most brawny, independent and liberal thinkers of her time. Settled in a time frame, where marriage was the whole and soul purpose of the existence of a woman, Katherine is seen to break those bonds and live on her own terms. She, just like any another girl, was also engaged to marry at the age of 18. However, after Pearl Harbor, she and her fiancé realized that both of them had changed for good and called it quits, after which, Katherine went to L.A for graduation, and turned out to be an art history professor. She embodied the best kind of spirit for a teacher, one that allows individuality and exploration of our personal strengths. Though her students at first, regard her a spinster for being over the age of 30 and unmarried, Katherine feels comfortable with her decision which some of the young women find intimidating and others, empowering....
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Film Review Mona Lisa Smile Essay
  • Essay about Feminism in 'Mona Lisa Smile"
  • Comments on Mona Lisa Smile Essay
  • Mona Lisa Smile Essay
  • Mona Lisa Smile Essay
  • Essay on Mona Lisa Smile
  • Analysis on the movie Mona Lisa Smile Essay
  • Essay about Mona Lisa Smile

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free