Mona Lisa Smile (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mona Lisa Smile (2003)



Critic Consensus: Though Mona Lisa Smile espouses the value of breaking barriers, the movie itself is predictable and safe.

Movie Info

In 1953, a time when women's roles were rigidly defined, free-spirited, novice art history professor Katherine Watson begins teaching at the prestigious all-female Wellesley College--which despite its academic reputation, is an environment where success is measured by 'how well' the students marry. Encouraging these women to strive for a more enlightened future, Watson challenges the administration and inspires her students to look beyond the image of what is, and consider the possibilities of what could be--contrary to popular belief.more
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and thematic issues)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 9, 2004
Box Office: $63.7M
Sony Pictures Releasing - Official Site


Julia Roberts
as Katherine Watson
Kirsten Dunst
as Betty Warren
Julia Stiles
as Joan Brandwyn
Maggie Gyllenhaal
as Giselle Levy
Ginnifer Goodwin
as Constance Baker
Dominic West
as Bill Dunbar
Juliet Stevenson
as Amanda Armstrong
John Slattery
as Paul Moore
Marcia Gay Harden
as Nancy Abbey
Topher Grace
as Tommy Donegal
Tori Amos
as Wedding Singer
Laura Allen
as Susan Delacorte
Marian Seldes
as President Jocelyn Ca...
Terence Rigby
as Dr. Edward Staunton
Donna Mitchell
as Mrs. Warren
Jordan Bridges
as Spencer Jones
Ebon Moss-Bachrach
as Charlie Stewart
Daisy Baldwin
as Art History Student
Janine Barris
as Art History Student
Emily Bauer
as Art History Student
Kirstie Bingham
as Art History Student
Leslie Lyles
as Housing Director
Jennifer Bowen
as Art History Student
Lily Lodge
as House Matron
Kristin Nora Connoll...
as Art History Student
Annika Marks
as Art History Student
Lily Rabe
as Art History Student
Krysten Ritter
as Art History Student
Lauren Adler
as Art History Student
Becky Veduccio
as Blue Ship Hostess
Marlo DiCrasto
as Art History Student
Megan Marie Ford
as Art History Student
June Miller
as Cape Cod Hostess
Marni Penning
as Art History Student
Aleksa Palladino
as Frances The Girl In ...
Deborah Day Dowlin
as Art Student
Charles Techman
as Harvard Dorm Monitor
Jennie Eisenhower
as Girl at Station
Jennifer H. Anderson
as Slide Projectionist
Corey W. Allen
as Giselle's Wedding Da...
Paul Vincent Black
as Joseph O'Neill
Marcus Allen Cooper
as Harvard Student
Fred DeReau
as Warren Cousin
Liesl Ehardt
as Joan Brandwyn's Frie...
Claire Angelique
as Art History Student
Katherine P. Reilly
as Art History Student
Nikki Coble
as Art History Student
Karin Farrell
as Trumpet Player
Kristen Connolly
as Art History Student
Aprill Fasino
as Art History Student/...
Kristyn Coppola
as Art History Student
Stella Hao
as Student
Kimberly Ehly
as Art History Student
Kristen Marie Holly
as Christmas Student No...
Kara Klein
as Art History Student
Lauren Fruchter
as Art History Student
Canedy Knowles
as Christmas Student No...
Kate Glass
as Art History Student
Josh Mann
as Harvard Student
Amanda Gruss
as Art History Student
Melanie Angelique Mo...
as Christmas Student No...
Walker Hays
as Art History Student
Ed Peed
as Taxi Driver
Michele Hillen
as Art History Student
Jackie Sanders
as Band Leader
John Scurti
as Stan Sher
Amy Montminy
as Art History Student
Julie Wagner
as Bartender
Katherine Reilly
as Art History Student
Jill Whitaker
as Vanessa McEntyre
John D. Fowler
as Dancer #6
Brandy Tipton
as Art History Student
Nicole Frydman
as Dancer #7
Trisha Trokan
as Art History Student
Noelle Gibson
as Dancer #8
Megan Tropea
as Art History Student
Solomon Singer
as Dancer #27
Maja Walpvszyl
as Art History Student
Kim Villanueva
as Dancer #29
Mary S. Pascoe
as Photographer
Denise Zadroga
as Dancer #32
Dan Weltner
as Dancer #30
Sid Grant
as Dancer #11
Devon Jencks
as Art History Student
Natalie Gomez
as Dancer #10
Emily R. See
as Wet Girls
Shelby Bond
as Wet Girls
Brad Mehldau
as Pianist
Carrie Ann Kaye
as Christmas Student
Kevin Osborne
as Band Announcer
Larry Grenadier
as Bass Player
Peter J. Rowan
as Wedding Photographer
Liliane Thomas
as Woman On Train
Yuval Hod
as Dancer
Lance Olds
as Dancer
Lindsey White
as Projectionist
Chris Burke
as Custodian
Amanda Gruss
as Art History Student
Rob Buntzen
as Wedding Planner Host
Lou Brock
as Dancer
James Callahan
as John Brandwyn
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mona Lisa Smile

Critic Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (45)

Roberts asks her students rhetorical questions: What makes art good or bad? Who decides? But the movie answers them as canonically as the syllabus Roberts abandons.

Full Review… | January 10, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Women of the Fifties, rise up in protest.

December 23, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Glossy entertainment value but far from art.

Full Review… | December 26, 2010
Common Sense Media

Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal furnish well-observed performances that frequently outshine Julia Roberts's reflex characterization in this female variant of "Dead Poets Society."

Full Review… | May 12, 2009

Period dress, set design, manners and acting are fine--as is Mike Newell's direction. If only the script was less predictable.

Full Review… | October 30, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

...would have been better served by characters with a little less formula than the paint-by-numbers projects so loved by these women of Wellesley College.

September 20, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Audience Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

A nice film that Julia Roberts played outstandingly.

Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

Mona Lisa Smile,which is set in 1953/54, tells the story of Katherine Ann Watson (played by Julia Roberts), a teacher who studied at UCLA graduate school who leaves her boyfriend behind in Los Angeles to teach at Wellesley College, a conservative women's private liberal arts college in Massachusetts........
she encourages her students to study to become career professionals,she wants her students to lead the world and not just to live as the wife of somebody. She uses modern art to suggest that they need not conform to female stereotype.

♥Robyn M♥

Super Reviewer

Julia Roberts plays a teacher in the mid-1950's when colleges like Wellesley seem to exist just to prepare young women to be housewives, not independent people. Similar to 'To Sir with Love', the teacher has to not only teach, but inspire her students to strive to do the best they can.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Mona Lisa Smile Quotes

Katherine Watson: I don't even want you to like it. What I want you to do is consider it.
– Submitted by Kathy D (3 years ago)
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I'd regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn't say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don't. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.
– Submitted by Nadia N (3 years ago)
Betty Warren: Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.
– Submitted by Nadia N (3 years ago)
Betty Warren: Look at this, mother. She's smiling. Is she happy?
Mrs. Warren: The important thing is not to tell anyone.
Betty Warren: She looks happy, so what does it matter?
– Submitted by Nadia N (3 years ago)

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