6.5/10
73,378
280 user 141 critic

Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

PG-13 | | Drama | 19 December 2003 (USA)
Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.

Director:

Mike Newell
Reviews
Popularity
3,717 ( 318)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Eat Pray Love (2010)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

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".

Director: Ryan Murphy
Stars: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins
Stepmom (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A terminally ill woman has to settle on her former husband's new lover, who will be their children's stepmother.

Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a woman's long-time friend reveals he's engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.

Director: P.J. Hogan
Stars: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz
Runaway Bride (1999)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A reporter is assigned to write a story about a woman who has left a string of fiances at the altar.

Director: Garry Marshall
Stars: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Joan Cusack
Notting Hill (1999)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.

Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Richard McCabe
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A movie publicist deals with the messy public split of his movie's co-stars while keeping reporters at bay while a reclusive director holds the film's print hostage.

Director: Joe Roth
Stars: Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Billy Crystal
Pretty Woman (1990)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets... only to fall in love.

Director: Garry Marshall
Stars: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander
Dying Young (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A nurse falls in love with a terminally ill man.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Julia Roberts, Campbell Scott, Vincent D'Onofrio
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

Director: Joseph Ruben
Stars: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A woman's world is rocked when she discovers her husband is cheating on her.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid, Robert Duvall
Larry Crowne (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

Director: Tom Hanks
Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney
Edit

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
Edit

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

19 December 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sonrisa de Mona Lisa See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

Edit

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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The war story that Bill Dunbar tells during his Italian class is borrowed from the World War I novel "All Quiet On The Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. See more »

Goofs

The "AR" (Adam's Rib) party is supposed to be at 5 PM. It's winter in New England, but broad daylight appears outside the windows. 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.
See more »

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 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.195 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Santa Baby
Written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer (as Phil Springer), and Tony Springer (as Tony Springer)
Produced by Trevor Horn
Performed by Macy Gray
Courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A 117-minute cover version of "Free To Be... You And Me."
15 May 2004 | by Victor FieldSee all my reviews

The main theme in Rachel Portman's score for "Mona Lisa Smile" is yet another rewrite of her Oscar-nominated score for "The Cider House Rules" - charming, pleasant to listen to, but unoriginal. In that respect, it fits this movie perfectly.

The movie is nominally about the new teacher at the all-girls Wellesley College in 1953 and how she tries to get the students there to think for themselves instead of following the path their elders have set for them, but director Mike Newell (who it's impossible to believe once did movies like "Dance With A Stranger") and writers Laurence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, taking time out from weak remakes (they also did the Tim Burton "Planet of the Apes") and sequels (they also did "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace" and "The Jewel Of The Nile") to do an all-new movie, turn it into a nicely-shot, decently-acted two-hour soap opera. I admit I didn't hate it the way some other males commenting on it seem to - it's passably amusing and I can see the points it's trying to make - but ultimately it just doesn't come off.

Part of the problem is the casting; Julia Roberts is never believable for a second as the art teacher, and she spends the movie being acted off the screen by her students (when they show off more textbook knowledge than she does in their first class, the impression that they should be teaching her never leaves) and fellow teachers. Kirsten Dunst (as a prissy writer on the college newspaper who stands for The Way Things Are) and Julia Stiles (as an art student with a desire to be a lawyer) seem to have been cast in each other's roles by mistake; Stiles in particular sounds as if she's playing at being grown-up throughout, although both she and Dunst give it their best shot for the most part (KD's big emotional scene near the end is dreadful). As for the male roles, let's just call them tokens and leave it at that. (In fairness, Ginnifer Goodwin as the... pleasantly plump girl (you can't really call her fat), Maggie Gyllenhaal as a sexy free spirit, Marcia Gay Harden as a fellow teacher obsessed with TV and an all-too-briefly seen Juliet Stevenson as a nurse are all much better value.)

But what really hurts "Mona Lisa Smile" isn't the acting, or the music (though it's no fun hearing Barbra Streisand vocally showing off over the credits), but the writing. In addition to setting up all its characters as cliches and not really building up any of its plot lines (with Roberts's plot the dullest of all), the script's attempts to bring over the idea of women in the 1950s being who they choose to be, though perfectly laudable, come over as people switching to suit the plot (it's never clear how one character winds up changing her mind in the end). Rather than earn the movie's would-be bittersweet ending, it seems obligatory. Not much about the movie is honest, and even less is moving - only Goodwin's and Gyllenhaal's scenes are truly interesting, the former because it gives the movie some true emotion, and the latter because she's an alluring and likeable creature; some funny moments, but not enough to make it true fun. Just enough, however, to make the movie endurable.

"Mona Lisa Smile" isn't a BAD movie; it's just unnecessary, and not nearly the deep and moving treatise about the pre-Women's Lib days that it thinks it is. It's a lot like some of the beauty contestants we see in the 1950s montage at the end - pretty, but pretty shallow.


27 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 280 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed