A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.

Director:

Mike Newell
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Katherine Ann Watson
Kirsten Dunst ... Betty Warren
Julia Stiles ... Joan Brandwyn
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Giselle Levy
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Connie Baker
Dominic West ... Bill Dunbar
Juliet Stevenson ... Amanda Armstrong
Marcia Gay Harden ... Nancy Abbey
John Slattery ... Paul Moore
Marian Seldes ... President Jocelyn Carr
Donna Mitchell ... Mrs. Warren
Terence Rigby ... Dr. Edward Staunton
Jennie Eisenhower ... Girl at the Station
Leslie Lyles Leslie Lyles ... Housing Director
Laura Allen ... Susan Delacorte
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Storyline

Katherine Ann Watson has accepted a position teaching art history at the prestigious Wellesley College. Watson is a very modern woman, particularly for the 1950s, and has a passion not only for art but for her students. For the most part, the students all seem to be biding their time, waiting to find the right man to marry. The students are all very bright and Watson feels they are not reaching their potential. Altough a strong bond is formed between teacher and student, Watson's views are incompatible with the dominant culture of the college. Written by garykmcd

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Taglines:

In einer Welt, die ihnen vorschrieb, wie man lebt, lehrte sie sie, wie man denkt. (In a world that told them how to live, she taught them how to think.) See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and thematic issues | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Ansen's review of ''Mona Lisa Smile'' in Newsweek encapsulated many of the criticisms leveled at the film due to its historical inaccuracies: ''The movie's cartoon notions of the 50's and snooty Easterners say more about Hollywood cluelessness than about the period the film condescends to." See more »

Goofs

The film erroneously depicts Wellesley as the most conservative college in the nation. In fact, Wellesley was not politically conservative at this time and had already appointed to its faculty one of the first African-American sociology professors. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Betty Warren: [voiceover] All her life, she had wanted to teach at Wellesley College. So, when a position opened in the Art History department, she pursued it single-mindedly until she was hired. It was whispered that Katherine Watson, a first-year teacher from Oakland State, made up in brains what she lacked in pedigree. Which was why this bohemian from California was on her way to the most conservative college in the nation.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits for the prominent cast and crew are set in front of vintage footage and advertisements showing women in the 1940s and 50s. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.133 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Trumpet Voluntary in D, Op. 6, No. 5 (Andante Largo)
Written by John Stanley
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User Reviews

A well-made Wellesley College period piece.
4 July 2004 | by TxMikeSee all my reviews

I liked Julia Roberts less in her earlier movies, I like her more now that she is playing older and flawed characters, like the new professor of Art History in 1953 Wellesley College in "Mona Lisa Smile." And the title does not refer to her, instead it is embedded in remarks in the screenplay about the actual painting of The Mona Lisa. Not everything turns out well in this movie, it more closely reflects real life than do many of the modern romantic comedies. This one is NOT a romantic comedy, although it does include several romances, and there are some funny parts. It is more a serious drama about life and growing up, both from the perspectives of the undergraduates, and the new professor. I bought the DVD, the picture and sound are fine, and there are several interesting extras on the making of this movie, and the work done to get the period correct.

I don't share the many negative comments about this movie. It is a fine drama, one that merits repeat viewings once or twice a year. It is NOT simply a 'Dead Poet's Society' for the girls. To call it that is to overlook all the fine, unique points about this movie.

Update: Saw it again March 2013, I enjoyed it as much as the first two times.

Update: Saw it again June 2017, I enjoyed it as much as the first three times.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

19 December 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mona Lisa Smile See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,528,498, 21 December 2003

Gross USA:

$63,860,942

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$141,337,989
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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