Mona Lisa Smile (2003)




Mike Newell 




Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Annika Marks, Ginnifer Goodwin, Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson, Marcia Gay Harden, John Slattery, Marian Seldes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Topher Grace, Jordan Bridges, Laura Allen, Emily Bauer, Tori Amos, Lisa Roberts Gillan, Krysten Ritter, Lily Rabe, Terence Rigby


Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts), a very modern and free-thinking art professor, teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.


Have you ever wondered what a female version of "Dead Poets Society" would look like? If you have, this film might be for you. Of course this doesn't necessarily means that you are going to like it. I actually firmly believe the contrary as "Mona Lisa Smile" is a boring, useless, pointless waste of talent.

The whole plot had been stolen from "Dead Poets Society". Still, in spite of that, director Mike Newell managed to make a completely uninteresting film that has no idea what to focus on. With a title like that, I thought that the film was going to be centered more on Julia Roberts's character rather than the girls she has to inspire, but it doesn't. One moment it's focused on her, the next it's focused on the girls. And to be honest, the best moments of the film are focused on Roberts dealing with her own inequities rather than dealing with the system.

Sure, I'm a woman and I identify myself with the characters, because, even though it's 2016, we women are still seen like we have a role we were born for, like being a wife, being a mother, and too many people still think a woman has to do that in order to be a woman. Still I believe Peter Weir's film already represented everyone, regardless of gender.

Because of the poor script, poor direction, and lack of any original idea, the potential of the mostly feminine cast is completely wasted. The acting isn't awful, but an actress like Maggie Gyllenhaal, for example, deserves something better to work with.

Not even Julia Roberts's smiles can save this disaster.

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