The line up was promising; Julia Roberts, Kirstin Dunst, Maggie Gylenhaal and Julia Stiles. This film delivered. It's feministic approach was refreshing to see, and delivered in the form of Julia Roberts character, who incidentally was not a man-hating feminist, showed that the movement was not a way of women attempting to rise up against the oppressive and hateful men that ruled their lives, but a motion towards some kind of respect and equality. Roberts' character dated, loved, and worked hard for all she wanted. She motivated the girls to make a life for themselves that existed beyond the boundries of masculine expectation, so they would not regret letting the oppertunities pass them by.
Kirstin Dunst impressed me immensley in this film. I remember her saying in an interview a while ago, she'd like her acting to be taken more seriously and that she's sick of being the love interest or the girl next door... well, to me, all you need to do is look at her in Mona Lisa Smile and you can clearly see that this girl is headed for something major. She was spectacular, and the part suited her to a T. I wouldn't really have picked her out before watching this film, but if I see her in a serious role again, it will compell me to watch it.
Similarly, Maggie stood out as more than Jake's sister. She was, perhaps, the second most outstanding actress in the movie, besides Kirstin.
This film opened my eyes. In a way, it also showed me that you can't change people who've held beliefs in their minds for their entire lives to a, perhaps, more positive opinion, unless you're prepared to really fight. Or maybe the film shows that people should give advice, but allow others to make their own unaided decissions? Either way, it's a film worth watching, and I loved every minute.