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Still shot from the movie: Mona Lisa Smile.

Mona Lisa Smile

In the fall of 1953, a frigid and traditional New England school for young women gets a jolt of warm Californian mind-set. Hired as the new art history teacher, Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) begins to challenge her female students (Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin) --not in art, but in the traditional roles of womanhood they have learned since childhood. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: C
Violence: A
Sexual Content: B-
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 125
Theater Release: 18 Dec 2003
Video Release: 02 Feb 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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How We Determine Our Grades

After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

This movie and others like it (Far From Heaven, The Hours) depict the 1950’s as a time when many women were unhappy. Do you think that was reflective of all women? Over the last 50 years, choices for women have expanded. Have these increased opportunities made the women of today any happier?

How did Katherine’s dress reflect her attitude toward the more formal mores of the college?

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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