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January 02, 2009

Mona Lisa Smile

Monalisasmile Inspired by an article about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s years at Wellesley College, screenwriters Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal set this period drama back a generation to the ‘50s when the college served as an elite finishing school for its all-female students. Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a forward thinking Art History professor with poor taste in men who steps outside the school’s curriculum to get a leg up on her intelligent but marriage-minded students. “Mona Lisa Smile” is an enjoyable opportunity to compare the talents of today’s brightest young actresses in a movie that celebrates the music, fashion and hairstyles of the American dream decade. Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal furnish well-observed performances that frequently outshine Julia Roberts’s reflex characterization in this female variant of “Dead Poets Society.” 
Rated PG-13. 114  mins. (B-) (Three Stars)

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