Mona Lisa Smile (2003)



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

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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.
PG-13 (for sexual content and thematic issues)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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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 Carr
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
Kristin Nora Connolly
as Art History Student
Lily Lodge
as House Matron
Annika Marks
as Art History Student
Lily Rabe
as Art History Student
Krysten Ritter
as Art History Student
Lauren Adler
as Art History Student
Rony Clanton
as Porter
Marlo DiCrasto
as Art History Student
Becky Veduccio
as Blue Ship Hostess
Lisa Roberts Gillan
as Miss Albini
Megan Marie Ford
as Art History Student
June Miller
as Cape Cod Hostess
Marni Penning
as Art History Student
Deborah Day Dowlin
as Art Student
Aleksa Palladino
as Frances The Girl In Italian Class
Jennie Eisenhower
as Girl at Station
Charles Techman
as Harvard Dorm Monitor
Jennifer H. Anderson
as Slide Projectionist
Corey W. Allen
as Giselle's Wedding Date
Paul Vincent Black
as Joseph O'Neill
Marcus Allen Cooper
as Harvard Student
Fred DeReau
as Warren Cousin
Liesl Ehardt
as Joan Brandwyn's Friend
Katherine P. Reilly
as Art History Student
Claire Angelique
as Art History Student
Karin Farrell
as Trumpet Player
Nikki Coble
as Art History Student
Kristen Connolly
as Art History Student
Aprill Fasino
as Art History Student/Dancer
Kristyn Coppola
as Art History Student
Stella Hao
as Student
Kristen Marie Holly
as Christmas Student No. 3
Kimberly Ehly
as Art History Student
Kara Klein
as Art History Student
Canedy Knowles
as Christmas Student No. 2
Lauren Fruchter
as Art History Student
Kate Glass
as Art History Student
Josh Mann
as Harvard Student
Amanda Gruss
as Art History Student
Melanie Angelique Moyer
as Christmas Student No. 1
Walker Hays
as Art History Student
Ed Peed
as Taxi Driver
Michele Hillen
as Art History Student
Jackie Sanders
as Band Leader
Amy Montminy
as Art History Student
John Scurti
as Stan Sher
Julie Wagner
as Bartender
Jill Whitaker
as Vanessa McEntyre
Katherine Reilly
as Art History Student
John D. Fowler
as Dancer #6
Nicole Frydman
as Dancer #7
Brandy Tipton
as Art History Student
Trisha Trokan
as Art History Student
Noelle Gibson
as Dancer #8
Megan Tropea
as Art History Student
Solomon Singer
as Dancer #27
Kim Villanueva
as Dancer #29
Maja Walpvszyl
as Art History Student
Denise Zadroga
as Dancer #32
Mary S. Pascoe
as Photographer
Dan Weltner
as Dancer #30
Sid Grant
as Dancer #11
Laura M. Flahive
as Wet Girls
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
Dorothy Dwyer
as Faculty
Yuval Hod
as Dancer
Jerry Jordan
as Dancer
Nadia Kravets
as Dancer
Lance Olds
as Dancer
Joel Palmer
as Dancer
Lindsey White
as Projectionist
Chris Burke
as Custodian
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News & Interviews for Mona Lisa Smile

Critic Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

All Critics (150) | Top Critics (43)

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

In terms of the gap between the movie it's trying to be and the movie it actually is, Mona Lisa Smile is in many ways indefensible. Yet for all its problems, it's satisfyingly movielike.

Full Review… | December 20, 2003
Top Critic

Anyone who's ever been moved by a teacher to dream a slightly bigger dream than his parents thought he or she was capable of achieving ought to love the film, for it gets at a truer model of teacher's inspiration.

December 19, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Like the turtleneck cashmere sweaters and girdles that tie down these promising women, the movie is trite and trussed.

December 19, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Rather than being a fascinating exploration of a much more constrained time in our social history, the film simply feels anachronistic.

Full Review… | December 19, 2003
USA Today
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

A nice film that Julia Roberts played outstandingly.

Bethany Murphy
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♥
♥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
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

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