Chills traveled down my spine as my heart began to burst. I thought to myself, “How could a film be this powerful to my eyes?” Mike Newell’s “Mona Lisa Smile” hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not believe how well put this film was as the cried the last scene hearing lines such as “But not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image. We will never forget you.”
This 2003 film takes place in the 1950’s where everything was different and proper back then. Julia Roberts portrays a feminist art teacher that decides to teach at Wellesley, a conservative women's private liberal arts college in Massachusetts, United States. What her students don’t know is that she would change some of their views and lives forever. Because Wellesley was such a well-to-do college, the faculty and staff frowned upon Katherine Watson’s (Roberts) idea of a professor. She admits that she had never been to Europe to see any of the historical landmarks or famous paintings and puts grief into the faculty’s eyes. She encourages her students to believe in themselves, to study to become career professionals, and to improve their economic futures. She uses her modern art teachings as a vehicle to put across her opinion to the young women that her students need not conform to stereotypes of women made by society. Although many of the students are i put off by Watson's style, as the film progresses, more and more begin to come around and in many cases admire her. Even Betty comes around at the end of movie, despite being her most vocal critic.
Modern Art was something the faculty and staff frowned upon. She felt that Modern art was a questioning of the status quo and could be used as an ...
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... Wellesley since so many did not approve of it. Watson chooses to leave after the one year, but, as she is leaving the campus for the last time, her students run after her car, to show their affection and to thank her for her lessons. The entire departure scene is narrated by Betty who dedicates her last editorial to Watson, stating that Watson is "an extraordinary woman" and an individual who "seeks truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image." The film ends as Betty struggles to keep up with Watson's taxi as it speeds up, thereby portraying her admiration and respect for Watson.
This film had a clear plot from beginning to end. Although I broke down at the end, I felt that this film had a great message, To be who you are and do what you want.
This place needs you, Katherine. We all do.
Ciao, Mona Lisa.
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