Mona Lisa Smile

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1 1/2

In the fall of 1953, art teacher Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) leaves her California home to go to New England to teach art history at Wellesley. Her female students think they know all there is to art history, so their whole focus is on getting married. Seems as if conformity dictates that being engaged is much more important than having a good education. Katherine is challenged to get these girls to think independently, but she runs into obstacles with the ultraconservative staff and alumni of the school as well as one of the students, Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst), who quickly becomes her adversary. Katherine resists some bullying and serves as a role model and friend to the girls (Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin), all the while trying to work out her own feelings for her lover, Paul Moore, and her associate, Professor Bill Dunbar (Dominic West).

This film is like Dead Poets Society for women. The best part of the movie is Julia Robertss complex character, a part that she plays well. And she is surrounded by some equally talented actresses. Its an intelligent script tackling some issues of the women of the fifties. Although focusing on the theme of womens independence, the film certainly does not unfavorably portray the role of homemaker. It simply shows the struggle of balancing life as a wife, mother and career woman. Negatively, there is quite a bit of sexual dialog and implied sexual relationships in the film, including a professor who is sleeping with some of the students. The film also contains bad language and frequent smoking and alcohol use. For these reasons, Preview must give Mona Lisa Smile a negative acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Lynn Nusser
Columbia Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (13) times mild (hell 7, damn 3); strong (bitch 1, ass 1, whore 1)

Obscene Language: Few (3) times moderate (screw 2); strong (other 1)

Profanity: Several (6) times moderate (OMG 2, OG 1, thank G used inappropriately 2); strong (GD 1)

Violence: None

Sex: Few times mild (implied but not seen: teacher is sleeping with some of his students, female teacher was living with her lover before coming to Wellesley, man wants to sleep in same bed as woman when he comes to visit her)

Nudity: Few times mild (man in shower with nothing shown but chest, pictures of lady in bra and girdle, female in slip)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times mild (female teacher accused of having affair with William Holden because she is from California, females talk about teacher sleeping with students, females discuss birth control)

Drugs: Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol

Other: Female says she would like to murder her mother; joke made about divorce; woman refers to another woman as a New York kike; the film has a positive message that women are intelligent and can pursue an education, career and a home

Running Time: 115 minutes.
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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