Mona Lisa Smile

I expected that this film would be Dead Poets Society with a feminist slant, but it surprised me by managing to be its own movie. The film grapples with a question that seems to be on a lot of minds these days: what is the proper role of women in society? How does femininity fit into a modern world? And, remarkably, it acknowledges that it is a truly complex issue. At first it seems like we will be beaten over the head with women's lib, but, the film never really takes one of the "sides" we're used to. Rather, it takes what seems to be a partisan issue and individualizes it. I did have some problems with the story, but upon reflection, most of them were pretty trivial. The real bane of this movie was the acting. Kirsten Dunst gave a totally one-dimensional performance, and Julia Stiles and Julia Roberts were not far behind. The few particularly good moments seemed much more a product of the writing than any particular actor's choice. Still, Maggie Gyllenhaal was more than adequate, and Ginnifer Goodwin and Ebon Moss-Bachrach managed very good chemistry (sadly, they were more of a side-story).

Viewed: 12/20/2003 | Released: 12/18/2003 | Score: C

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