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Mona Lisa (1986)

tomatometer

83

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 5,459

My Rating

Movie Info

Bob Hoskins plays George, a tough but basically goodhearted British mob flunky, recently released from prison, where he'd served a term to cover up for his gangster boss (Michael Caine). Still willing to be everyone's doormat, George agrees to act as chauffeur for Simone (Cathy Tyson), a haughty, high-priced call girl. They don't like each other at first, but George begins to fall for her and take a protective interest. She implores him to help her find her only truly friend, a prostitute named

R,

Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Neil Jordan, David Leland

Mar 13, 2001

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Mona Lisa

May 15, 2009:
Rourke Signs on for Mona Lisa Remake
"Kids" director Larry Clark is putting together a remake of 1986's "Mona Lisa," with Mickey Rourke...

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (1) | DVD (24)

No wonder audiences have taken to this gritty romance as to a mongrel puppy; for at heart Mona Lisa is an old-fashioned poor-soul weepie, and George is less a Cagney rakehell than a Chaplin tramp.

April 20, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Skillfully combines comedy and thriller, romance and sleaze.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A wonderful achievement, a dark film with a generous heart in the shape of an extraordinarily touching performance from Hoskins.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's like watching the departure of an ocean liner. After all of the initial excitement, you're left on the dock, alone, wondering what all the fuss was about.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's ending is a little too neat for my taste. But in a movie like this, everything depends on atmosphere and character, and Mona Lisa knows exactly what it is doing.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In an era when movies about love almost always invariably devolve into formulaic affairs, Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa stands out as an often-surprising, multi-layered achievement.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A superb cast lead by Bob Hoskins in the performance of his career.

May 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

The bracing peaks of image, acting, and narrative architecture handily win the day over a scenario that always feels more like a willfully engineered exercise than a fully plausible reality.

July 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

The acting of Bob Hoskins in Jordan's disturbing Odd Couple tale is superb.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

As a study of social faÁades as a means of social climbing, and as a character study of Hoskins' would-be angel, Mona Lisa excels... [Blu-ray]

August 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

A detailed, thoughtful film that sensitively explores the emotions within its seedy, exploitative milieu.

April 20, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Sublime acting all round, including a convincingly sinister Michael Caine as the big boss happy to profit from the loss of innocence.

April 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

manipulates the commodities of its genre to create something fresh and unique

August 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

It's a crime film, and it can be intense and lurid, but it's first and foremost about these characters and Mona Lisa takes its time and gets to know them.

April 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Beautifully quirky, taboo, and British.

November 23, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

The real drama ... stems from each character's frustrated attempt to transcend his or her lousy lot in life.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Hoskin's is engrossing in one of Neil Jordan's best movies.

June 24, 2003
Nitrate Online

First-rate character study and thriller from Neil Jordan

August 14, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

...despite the film's sordid themes, violence, brutality, and bloodshed, one comes away from it feeling that it's really rather a sweet and affecting story.

April 11, 2001
Movie Metropolis

If you need an interpreter for the Cockney, maybe I'm available. I wouldn't mind seeing the film again.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Mona Lisa

A riveting, intelligently scripted drama concerning an ex-con (Bob Hoskins) fresh out of prison, who picks up a job as a driver for a high-priced prostitute (Cathy Tyson), who he eventually becomes infatuated with to the point where he makes a concerted effort to track down a close friend of hers that she lost in the dangerous business. An extremely well-paced, arresting tale full of twists, anchored by a ferocious, phenomenal performance from the always under-rated Hoskins makes this film a gem. The story is terrifically written, with a realistic, heart-wrenching twist in the midst of it all. While director Neil Jordan gets noted mostly for the well-done "The Crying Game", to me, this is the best movie he has done, at least that of what I have seen. Michael Caine is also great in a slimy turn against the types of characters he usually plays, and he pulls it off well, but this movie is mainly all Hoskins.
September 4, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Many consider this the British Taxi Driver. A bit of a simplification as it deals with a man who gets involved with the underworld of underage girls and prostitution. Mona Lisa is much more a romance set against a backdrop of criminal violence. Bob Hoskins stars in his greatest role ever. Just out of prison, he gets a job driving around a high class call girl. They develop a working relationship of trust and soon Hoskins is asked to track down a missing girl. Hoskins is so perfect in this role. You can easily see him as a gruff and mean gangster, but he adds a vulnerability which serves the romantic angle so well. He also has an endearing childlike naivety. Hoskins has great chemistry with everyone from Michael Caines villainous Mortwell, to his conversations about crime novels with Robbie Coltrane. The soundtrack is ace, with the opening and closing lyrics to Mona Lisa being all about interpretation, which this film certainly asks you to find your own. Director Neil Jordan litters scenes with which allude to fantasy stories, a white rabbit here, performing dwarfs there, etc. The dialogue is funny, the relationships emotional, and the themes disturbing. It's the full package and almost unique in its tone.
August 19, 2012
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

Edgy, but in a polite, British sort of way. Bob Hoskins is absolutely spot-on (as usual).
April 24, 2012
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Only someone as vulnerable and sincere as Bob Hoskins could play the central character, an ex-con, loner, cheap, no good, now a chauffeur, with a taste for stories and a fixation for the hooker he works for. His performance carries the film. I love the use of Nat "King" Cole's music, as well as the sordid underworld where the story move around. The opening scene, where Hoskin's character returns home after time in prison, and the one in the coast of Brighton, where he realizes Simone's intentions, really moved me. It's also quite good to see Michael Caine and Hoskins sharing screen time, because after what they did in "Get Carter" and "The long good friday" for me they are like the De Niro and Pacino of British isles.
November 16, 2011
pier007

Super Reviewer

    1. George: Well, she's a woman of substance. She's a lady.
    2. Thomas: I thought you said she was a tart. A tall, thin, black tart.
    3. George: Well, maybe, but she's still a fuckin' lady.
    – Submitted by Al H (9 months ago)
    1. Simone: Being cheap is one thing. Looking cheap is another.That really takes talent..
    2. George: Some women are whores. Some whores are black. You take what you're given, don't ya?
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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