Before I start, I have to say that I really dislike "Mona Lisa Smile." When I first saw it five years ago, I had just graduated from college and looked forward to watching a movie about a school that reminded me of my alma mater (Sarah Lawrence) and had female characters my age. Instead, I got a load of boring, cheesy misogynistic claptrap.
Most of my feelings echo this letter the president of Wellesley College wrote after the film's premiere. The character development also makes me want to smack my head against a post. Gisele Levy is supposed to be the one character in the film who is comfortable with her sexuality... but it turns out she sleeps around because she has daddy issues stemming from being the only kid on the block with divorced parents. Betty, the antagonist for most of the film, supposedly develops a fuller sense of self in the end and strikes out on her own with an apartment in Greenwich Village... but only because she finds out her new husband was cheating on her. Connie, the awkward girl who is insecure about her looks and always (literally) running away, blossoms... but only because she starts dating Betty's cousin.
While we are supposed to believe that the character played by Julia Roberts helps these young women see themselves as something other as future housewives, all of them still end up defining themselves through their relationships with men. "The Feminine Mystique" this ain't!
The film does have one thing going for it, though... the costumes! Lots and lots of gorgeous mid-fifties clothes! Wheeee!
I like to think that the wardrobe department had a giant barrel filled with pearl necklaces.
I see these velvet-wrapped wire fascinators on eBay and Etsy all the time, and it's nice to see one in action.
It's a good film as long as you keep the volume on mute.