Everybody's a critic - 'Mona Lisa Smile'

Friday, December 26, 2003

One star (out of four)

I considered giving this movie no stars, but the performance by the cast deserved some recognition. However, the plot leaves a lot to be desired. The motive of the writers was not at all a bad idea. The idea of making a movie about the contrast between the contemporary view of women and the view that was instilled in them in that time period is not a bad idea.

There still is something left to be desired. First of all, the movie is supposed to be set in the '50s, but throughout there are a few things that I saw (and this may be because of my lack of knowledge) that did not belong in the '50s. Also, throughout the movie there is a point where you resent every single character. The audience needs to have a definite protagonist and a definite antagonist.

- Tyler Tankersley, high school student


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Four stars (out of four)

Julia Roberts has done it again. She has taken a familiar story and made it her own. "Mona Lisa Smile" is fresh, fun and thought provoking.

This is a historical portrait of life for young ladies in the '50s. I felt as if I were seeing a true portrait of 1953, and what an eye opener that was.

The girls in the film are all the country's brightest students of their day. Getting married is the only ambition that any of them seem to have. None of them thinks for herself or seems to want to break out of a mold that everyone expects them to remain in.

Being an individual following your heart, bucking tradition, these are lessons that Julia Roberts' character tries to pass on. Of course, the powers-to-be in this film keep throwing obstacles up to keep Julia in her place. But think again.

- Denise Eaker, executive director


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Two stars (out of four)

Bohemian Katherine Watson finds herself as a new art history professor at Wellesley College in a world of chintz, pearls, poise, synchronized swimming and tradition.

The movie portrays Wellesley College in 1953 as a stereotypical East Coast house of elitism, snobbery and conservatism. The faculty, staff and students seem obsessed with practices of deceit for the sake of keeping up appearances. Into this culture comes free-thinking Kate Watson (Roberts), liberal from where else but California, to save them all.

It is very much a feminine version of "Dead Poet's Society."

Predictable? Yes! However, the talented supporting cast of characters seem to offer the most interesting yet underdeveloped storylines of the movie.

The cinematography and musical score are well-executed and help to bring the fashion and musical culture of the early 1950s to life.

- Rhonda Zacharias, consultant

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