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At Theaters: 12/19/2003 On Video: 3/9/2004
Rated: PG-13 Length: 1 hr. 55 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 419926
Studio: Columbia Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading
Katherine Watson is a recent UCLA graduate hired to teach art history at the prestigious all-female Wellesley College, in 1953. Determined to confront the outdated mores of society and the institution that embraces them, Katherine inspires her traditional students, including Betty and Joan, to challenge the lives they are expected to lead.
DETAILED STORYLINE
.
Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama - An often tense drama with many lighthearted, feel-good moments.

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Cast and Crew Heading
Julia Roberts CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, FULL FRONTAL
Kirsten Dunst SPIDER-MAN, GET OVER IT, BRING IT ON
Julia Stiles A GUY THING, O, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, DOWN TO YOU
Maggie Gyllenhaal RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS, ADAPTATION
Director: Mike Newell PUSHING TIN
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Production Notes Heading
An Inspiring Generation
The Best And The Brightest
About The Production
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: 1 GD, several others.
SEX/NUDITY: One very mild scene of implied sexual activity.
VIOLENCE: None
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Lots of cigarette smoking and some drinking/drunkenness.
ACTION: None
COMEDY: Quite a bit of humor throughout.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Pictures © Columbia Pictures Inc. ®
All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
Average

The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.

(Close new window when finished with Full Reviews)

Berardinelli, Internet Critic Full Review
Average Mona Lisa Smile is an exercise in relentless mediocrity - a trite melodrama that raises a number of interesting possibilities, then ignores them in favor of taking the "safe" path. In the process, it undermines its own thesis of female empowerment, and is guilty of underutilizing a vast pool of talent. ...the lack of compelling characters and the reliance upon formulas makes this movie a late-night cable TV time killer at best. The most likely facial expression to be elicited by Mona Lisa Smile is a grimace.

Roger Ebert Full Review
Good The movie may be a little too aware of its sexual politics and might have been more absorbing if Katherine and her students were fighting their way together out of the chains of gender slavery. But the characters involve us, we sympathize with their dreams and despair of their matrimonial tunnel vision, and at the end we are relieved that we listened to Miss Watson and became the wonderful people who we are today.

USA Today Full Review
Average Mona Lisa Smile is more likely to evoke a grimace than a grin. It's Dead Poets Society as a chick flick, without the compelling drama and inspiration of Peter Weir's 1989 film. The movie falters initially because it feels so far-fetched. The romantic elements of the story are even weaker.

Note: The rating above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.

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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 208 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
How
Many
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
*
Would
Recommend
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M)
3
About 50/50
100%
13-19Teens (F)
68
Very High
94%
20-29Yg Adults (M)
12
Fairly Low
83%
20-29Yg Adults (F)
57
Very High
100%
30+Adults (M)
14
About 50/50
93%
30+Adults (F)
54
High
98%
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
The positive and negative comments made by moviegoers are very
helpful when selecting a movie that's appropriate for you and your family.

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OPINION GRAPH

OPINION OVERVIEW
The following is the original "What's Worth Watching" write-up for this movie.

Moviegoer Opinions:

We collected 208 moviegoer opinions. Mixed would be the best way to describe these opinions. It's clear to see that this is more of a chick flick. Over three-quarters of the ladies enjoyed it very much, rating it "Very Good" or higher. Most of the remaining 25% rated it "Good," which is a little low, but not too bad. Only a few didn't care for it.

As for the guys, there were a few who really enjoyed it and a few who didn't like it, but most thought it was an OK movie.

So, ladies this is a movie you could probably safely ask your fella to see with you, but you will then owe him a guy movie so it may be better to take a girlfriend along instead.

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D ETAILED S TORYLINE
Katherine Watson (Roberts) travels from California to the New England campus of Wellesley College in the fall of 1953 to teach art history. In the post-war era, Katherine expects that her students, the best and the brightest in the country, will take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Soon after her arrival, however, Katherine discovers that the environment at the prestigious institution is steeped in conformity. According to their poise and elocution teacher Nancy Abbey (Marcia Gay Harden), an engagement ring on a young woman's finger is considered a bigger prize than a well-rounded education.

When Katherine encourages her students to think independently, she runs afoul of the more conservative faculty and alumni, including one of her students, the upper crust Betty Warren (Dunst). The recently married Betty becomes a formidable adversary when Katherine persuades her best friend, Joan Brandwyn (Stiles), to apply to Yale Law School - even as Joan is awaiting a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend.

For the smart and provocative Giselle Levy (Gyllenhaal), Katherine becomes a much-needed role model and mentor. The sweet and shy Connie Baker (Goodwin) also draws courage from Katherine's example and gains the confidence to break through her insecurities.

In a world that told them how to live, Katherine teaches them how to think for themselves. Through her students' trials to find their own way, Katherine learns to chart a different course for herself as well.

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