Mona Lisa (1986)
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 Cathy (Kate Hardie). Touched by this devotion, George locates the girl, only to be chagrined to learn that Simone and Cathy are lovers. Hoskins is used and abused by so many people in Mona Lisa that when the worm finally does turn, you feel like cheering--even though it doesn't make him any happier. Director Neil Jordan cowrote this study of underworld mores with David Leland. … More
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Critic Reviews for Mona Lisa
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.
A wonderful achievement, a dark film with a generous heart in the shape of an extraordinarily touching performance from Hoskins.
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.
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.
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.
A dreary but compelling romantic crime thriller about love being the important ingredient in life.
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.
The acting of Bob Hoskins in Jordan's disturbing Odd Couple tale is superb.
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]
A detailed, thoughtful film that sensitively explores the emotions within its seedy, exploitative milieu.
Sublime acting all round, including a convincingly sinister Michael Caine as the big boss happy to profit from the loss of innocence.
manipulates the commodities of its genre to create something fresh and unique
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.
Beautifully quirky, taboo, and British.
The real drama ... stems from each character's frustrated attempt to transcend his or her lousy lot in life.
Hoskin's is engrossing in one of Neil Jordan's best movies.
First-rate character study and thriller from Neil Jordan
...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.
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.More
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.More
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.More
Mona Lisa Quotes
- Well, she's a woman of substance. She's a lady.
- I thought you said she was a tart. A tall, thin, black tart.
- Well, maybe, but she's still a fuckin' lady.
- Being cheap is one thing. Looking cheap is another.That really takes talent..
- Some women are whores. Some whores are black. You take what you're given, don't ya?
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