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34 Reviews
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing to the last second
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...
Published on 4 Jan 2005 by Ms. V. C. Wills

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good from a blokes perspective
I didn't expect to enjoy this film as it was my girlfriend's choice. I found it pleasantly entertaining, however, and Julia Roberts was her usual impressive self. It's not going to have you on the edge of your seat or reaching for the tissues but allows time to meander along with a couple of glasses of wine at hand.
Published on 17 Jan 2005


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smile for Mona Lisa, 29 Jun 2004
This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
This film seemed to come and go with no fanfare it was short on publicity and I came upon it due to a rainy afternoon. I found myself watching a small masterpiece of film making. This was a film in which Miss Roberts portrays a college Teacher in the early 1950's teaching art history to a group of quite well to do and in some cases very spoilt young women. It tell us of her struggle to open these young womens eyes to a life aside from marriage and children. It shows us how two differing opinions lead to a struggle between herself and her young students and the college authorities. I really enjoyed this film. It was well acted and it gave a good account of how feminism did not hit home to these young women for a long time . It was an eye opener to middle America in the fifties . Its cast along with Julia Roberts all bought a good story to life . So even though it did not set the large silver screen alight I think it is well worth watching on a wet afternoon or not.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 26 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Mona lisa smile is one of the best films i have ever seen by far. The cast is incredible, they act very well together. The plot is fabulous. You really learn what life was like for young girls back in 1954.
The film is so inspiring that the ending makes you cry, i cried. (If you don't cry, your'e just to cold-hearted, joke!) Julia Roberts is magnificent, i love all the films she has ever done! This was a pure pleasure to watch, i recommend this to anyone and everyone!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, unconvincing film, 15 July 2011
By 
R. Whitlock (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] (DVD)
I dug this out of my DVD collection, not having seen it before. But I must have tried because I was disappointed and there aren't many films in my collection I haven't seen all the way through. So I forced myself to watch tonight.

The most obvious thing about his film is that Julia Roberts is...well...just Julia Roberts. The same character she plays in all of her films, with ever so slight modifications to her personality. She's a one trick pony actress, unlike Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren who you have trouble believing played other parts in their acting careers. For example, do you think of Superintenant Tennison when you see HM playing the Queen? Does MS remind you of vulnerable Mrs Kramer when you see that bossy magazine editor witch in Devil Wears Prada, or that ciggie sucking, working class union rep in Silkwood? No, I thought not. But JR in this film has the same facial expressions, same way of expressing herself as she had playing Erin Brochovich - just with slightly less aggression.

The 50s setting is far too twee and unconvincing: the body language, voice projection and mannerisms of some of the support actresses, playing the students, is far too modern at times for the 50s. Some girls sound more Australian, not upper class American. One of the girls says 'screwed' (having sex) in hushed whispers to her college friend during a class. I doubt that any nicely brought up your lady in the 1950s would use such a vulgar expression. The art bias also has as much relevance to this film as classical music has to Inspector Morse. You either love art or you don't, and if you do it just adds to the enjoyment of the film if you like it already, or makes it bearable if you don't. It's not central to the story at all. Why art, I'm not quite sure. Deportment, elecution and flower arranging would be more suitable.

The film's main theme - girls stuck in traditional ways with no ambition but to get married and have children and taught more progressive ways by a new teacher - gets lost with all the noise, silliness and triviality of the student sub-story problems and dilemmas. All I really see is a teacher of a traditional college trying to get one over on the system - but you see that though a haze of smoke because there is no emotion attached to it. There's very little to move you and the whole thing gets boring after a while.

Frankly, I'd give this movie the thumbs down. If you love Julia Roberts, you're much better off watching some of her other films.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THREE SOLID STARS!, 24 Aug 2006
By 
F. Sweet (Midwestern USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Maybe director Mike Newell was at a Hollywood cocktail party starring Julia Roberts and through bleary-eyes decided that a movie should be made about her "Mona Lisa smile." But Roberts doesn't have Mona Lisa's smile. Leonardo DaVinci painted Mona Lisa's smile as subtle, enigmatic, and mysterious, suggesting some secret knowledge just below the surface. Roberts' smile is wide and toothy, projecting a warm personality that bubbles right over the surface. Not that one's better than the other. Rather, to say that Roberts' persona, and especially her smile, is like Mona Lisa's is contrived. Alas, I apologize for beginning with a digression.

MONA LISA SMILE, keeps trying to make connections that just aren't there. Roberts stars as Katherine Watson, fresh out of graduate school and a new art-history professor at the prestigious, conservative Wellesley women's college in 1953. "Liberal," Berkeley-educated Katherine hopes to teach future feminist leaders at the elite college. But instead she finds that Wellesley is full of smart, young women preparing themselves for high class marriage.

Katherine encounters four girls who represent the various stereotypes the movie decides to explore: Snobby legacy student Betty (Kirsten Dunst) is prim, proper and about to be married. Bad girl Giselle (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who's from a broken home, and she has affairs with professors and married men. Intelligent Joan (Julia Stiles) is on the marriage track, too, but harbors secret ambitions to attend law school. And chubby Connie (excellent newcomer Ginnifer Goodwin) is a cello-playing loser who can't get a date. So that's the cliché team.

Predictably, Katherine's art history class doesn't take too kindly to this unconventional new teacher, who dares exposing them to modern (i.e., contemporary) art and modern feminist notions. Predictably, they soon warm to her, teaching her as much as she teaches them. It's the DEAD POETS SOCIETY -- or the PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (now, THAT was a film) formula. Yet these weren't the only movie to feature an inspirational teacher imparting life lessons into her students. Althoough Roberts had been miscast as the feminist iconoclast and her miscast smile is only the tip of the iceberg, the supporting cast is strong, even though Dunst goes a little overboard on her upper-crust accent.

Director Mike Newell tries to make a deep movie that challenges the social standards of the 1950s. But all he manages to do is throw some stereotypes up against other stereotypes. This produces a film that feels afraid to commit to a strong point of view or philosophy, wandering through several plot lines to a dissatisfying conclusion that's more like an afterthought. A big part of the movie's problem is in throwing around big words like "subversive" and "progressive" to describe Katherine without ever getting her to convincingly demonstrating those qualities.

What's next, Mike? DaVinci's LAST SUPPER starring your pal Mel Gibson?
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5.0 out of 5 stars I really like this film, 10 July 2014
By 
J. Ferneyhough (Stockport, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I really like this film. It's a nice, heart-warming, period film. If you like Julia Roberts films, you'll probably love this - she's supported by a great cast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This was such a good film. Julia Roberts was great in it and ..., 3 July 2014
This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
This was such a good film. Julia Roberts was great in it and what a good cast. I had a little cry at the end!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie but a tad schmalty, 18 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I showed this movie to my students to help them understand how things were for women back in the 1950s just before the second wave of feminism. It's good but a tad schmaltzy at times. Some issues are not addressed like why some of the female characters still define themselves through men and having one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super quick delivery, 21 May 2014
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Will watch at the weekend. Have been wanting to see this film again for ages. Perfect timing for the weekend.
Thank you so much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of changing times, inspiration, tradition and evolution., 13 Jan 2014
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If you have an eye for color, texture and subtlety...you will enjoy the DP's luscious vision of tweeds,chantings, stones, jewel tones and matte simplicity. Always watch "stories" with a grain of salt. Music is fun reimagining of jazz & swing standards by unique vocalist choices. Growing up in a certain time period that embraces tradition and simultaneously admires change is poignant and telling. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good film, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] (DVD)
Good film and it played on all my devices including my computer, dvd player, portable player, etc. Good quality picture too!
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Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011]
Mona Lisa Smile [DVD] [2011] by Mike Newell (DVD - 2004)
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