Mona Lisa (1986)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Edgy, but in a polite, British sort of way. Bob Hoskins is absolutely spot-on (as usual).
Mona Lisa Quotes
|George:||Well, she's a woman of substance. She's a lady.|
|Thomas:||I thought you said she was a tart. A tall, thin, black tart.|
|George:||Well, maybe, but she's still a fuckin' lady.|
|Simone:||Being cheap is one thing. Looking cheap is another.That really takes talent..|
|George:||Some women are whores. Some whores are black. You take what you're given, don't ya?|