A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".
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
Chloë Sevigny turned down the role of Giselle Levy. Sevigny believed the film's screenplay was banal, unoriginal, and "faux feminist." She decided instead to star in the controversial film The Brown Bunny (2003). After "Mona Lisa Smile" debuted in theaters and received negative reviews, Sevigny stated that she did not regret her decision. See more »
When Nancy Abbey watches I Love Lucy, the title card shows the famous heart-on-velvet, which was only used when the show was in syndication. The original opening sequence featured ads for a cigarette company. See more »
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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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 »
This is the kind of movie that is easy to pan, but deserves better. Yes, the premise is familiar, the plot is formulaic, the characters seem like you've met them before.
"The devil is in the details," as they say, and this picture has just enough surprises, just enough charm, just enough fine acting to make it worth watching. Movies do not have to be real to be worthwhile, they just have to be about real things. The questions "Mona Lisa Smile" covers are still very much with us, and may provoke considerable discussion in your house. This film is respectful enough of its subject matter and well-enough executed to make it a much better way to spend your time than most of what's out there now. Don't believe the sourpusses, this one's a good'un.
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