Mona Lisa Smile


Mona Lisa Smile

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 152


Audience Score

User Ratings: 208,202
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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.


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
James Callahan
as John Brandwyn
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 Connolly
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
Marni Penning
as Art History Student
June Miller
as Cape Cod Hostess
Aleksa Palladino
as Frances The Girl In Italian Class
Deborah Day Dowlin
as Art Student
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
Nikki Coble
as Art History Student
Karin Farrell
as Trumpet Player
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
Josh Mann
as Harvard Student
Kate Glass
as Art History Student
Amanda Gruss
as Art History Student
Melanie Angelique Moyer
as Christmas Student No. 1
Walker Hays
as Art History Student
Michele Hillen
as Art History Student
Ed Peed
as Taxi Driver
Jackie Sanders
as Band Leader
Amy Montminy
as Art History Student
John Scurti
as Stan Sher
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
Solomon Singer
as Dancer #27
Megan Tropea
as Art History Student
Kim Villanueva
as Dancer #29
Maja Walpvszyl
as Art History Student
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
Rob Buntzen
as Wedding Planner Host
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
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News & Interviews for Mona Lisa Smile

Critic Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (101)

  • The cartoon notions of the '50s and snooty Easterners say more about Hollywood cluelessness than about the period the film condescends to...lacking the courage of its own vulgarity, Mona Lisa Smile is as tepid as old bathwater.

    Mar 12, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Just what we need: a pyjama party posing as a movie.

    Dec 19, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Devoid of enjoyment, intelligence or interest.

    Jan 27, 2004 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Nev Pierce
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jan 10, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Women of the Fifties, rise up in protest.

    Dec 23, 2003 | Rating: 1/4
  • 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.

    Dec 20, 2003

Audience Reviews for Mona Lisa Smile

  • Mar 25, 2013
    Mona Lisa Smile is a smart and provocative period drama that's especially well-crafted. The story follows an art instructor who comes to the elite women's college Wellesley during the 1950s and upsets the establishment with her unconventional teaching methods. With an all-star cast that includes Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the performances in the film are excellent. The writing is also quite good, particularly in how it explores the role of women in the '50s, and the expectations of upper society. Yet there are some weaknesses in the plot, and a few of the characters are underdeveloped. Compelling and inspired, Mona Lisa Smile is an impressive film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2011
    There was significantly more important substance contained in the ads and commercials shown during the beginning of the end credits (from the social, the microeconomic and the moral contexts) than in the rest of this melodramatic, clichéd, uneventful and pathetic excuse of a movie. The subject matter is way too important even in present days and you can't waste such important messages just like that. 43/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 23, 2011
    A nice film that Julia Roberts played outstandingly.
    Bethany M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 11, 2011
    Mona Lisa Smile was a fairly good film. Julia Roberts was believable in the role - and it is amusing to see how badly she fared with the critics - not based on her own performance but because she is of course a little out of vogue at the moment.
    Mouhannad S Super Reviewer

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