by Cynthia Keever

Mona Lisa Smile

In this dramatic woman's right movie starring Julia Roberts and Kirsten Dunst, Katherine Watson, a 30-year-old grad student in the department of art history, takes a job as the Art History teacher at the all-girls college of Wellesley in Massachusetts. The setting of the movie is fall of 1953; a year in which women were expected to be married either right out of high school or during their college years. Katherine not only helps her students more than she should, but she also travels through the conflict of why she, unlike many of her students, is not married yet. The movie introduces us to many interesting characters; including Betty Warren, an outspoken and uptight college student who is arranged to get married to Spencer soon; Connie Baker, who is very interested in Betty’s cousin, Charlie, but is told by Betty that he is arranged to be married soon; Joan Brandwyn, who dreams of being a lawyer and has already enrolled as pre-law, but fights with the conflict of whether to go on and be a lawyer or get married like everybody else; Giselle Levy, who is the only Jewish student among the entire WASP student body, and who supports Katherine’s choice of not having married yet; Bill Dunbar, the Italian professor who has relations with his students and who falls for Katherine very quickly; and Nancy Abbey, Katherine’s roommate and fellow teacher who follows all of the norms of the time and looks down on Katherine when she begins dating Bill Dunbar. Mona Lisa Smile is an emotional movie full of fantastically written characters and wonderful cinematography. Not only will you love this one of a kind drama film, but you’ll want to watch it over and over again!

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