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Mona Lisa Smile Feminist Analysis Essay

Essay on Analysis of the Inspirational Film, Mona Lisa Smile

2045 Words9 Pages

The movie, “Mona Lisa Smile” is an inspirational film that explores life through feminism, marriage, and education lead by a modernist teacher at the end of a traditional era. It begins by introducing the lead character, Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), a liberal-minded novice professor from California, who lands a job in the art history department at a snobbish, all-girl college, called Wellesley, in the fall of 1953. Despite warnings from her boyfriend Paul that a Boston Brahmin environment was out of her element, Katherine was thrilled at the prospect of educating some of the brightest young women in the country however, her image of Wellesley quickly fizzles after her first day of class, in which, was more like a baptism by fire. Her…show more content…

They felt that a woman who had engaged in premarital sex, would not be sought as pure, or worthy of a strong intelligent man.
Betty’s editorial caused Amanda, a former graduate of Wellesley, and senior staff member, to be fired from the only life that she had left after the death of her lesbian lover, whom also was a former staff member. However, Betty was strong in her beliefs that the college, society, and her mother had instilled in her. Like them, she believed that a woman’s role in life was to be a good wife, mother, and homemaker. She never, for one second, gave Katherine a chance, though despite her efforts to discredit her as well, the student’s clique of friends - among them Giselle, Joan, and Connie grew increasingly to admire her and look to her as a mentor. Katherine prompted them to explore their potential for change, rather than dutifully accept the traditional views of an institution where education was viewed merely as a stopgap before marrying a man, for whom they would work hard to boost up the corporate ladder. Katherine encouraged Joan, who definitely had the potential to succeed in law school, to apply to Yale Law. She knew how much Joan wanted to be accepted to Yale, and with only five women to be accepted into University’s at that time, Katherine felt that Joan had the better chance of them all.

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The movie, Mona Lisa Smile, was released in December of 2003.The movie is based around the life of Katherine Ann Watson, played by Julia Roberts.The movie takes place in 1953 at which is an all girl’s school.A graduate of Berkeley, Watson longed all of her life to teach at .So, when a position opened for an Art History class, she perused it until she was successful.Watson was not at all encouraged to teach an Art History class; in fact she was steered away from it.None of the faculty at was happy or encouraging of , including her prospective ‘love’ in the movie, Bill Dunbar played by Dominic West.

During the 1950’s every young girl dreams of getting married, having children, and being a house-wife.Watson dreams to change all of that.Being a single middle-aged woman, she tries to put a spark in her students’ eyes.She believes that they can be and do to accomplish their biggest dreams.Watson’s most outstanding, and outspoken women are played by Kirsten Dunst (Betty Warren), Julia Stiles (Joan Brandwyn), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Giselle Levy), and Ginnifer Goodwin (Connie Baker).Betty believes that there is no other way to go about life except to be a married woman and house-wife.Half way through the semester, Betty gets married.Joan is a pre-law student but plans on getting married after she graduates.Watson helps her apply to law school, which Joan had never even considered.Giselle is a free-spirit and constantly looks for ‘fun’.

During the entire duration of the movie woman are displayed as people who are only capable to do one thing: get married.This movie is entirely based on the fight and feminism movement.Although this movie displays women to only be married and to be house-wives, during this time, that is all they were allowed.It is hard to believe that about 60 years ago, women could not even apply themselves in the work place around the nation.To watch this film is a wake up call: we, as women, have come so far.Without women, like the one played by Julia Roberts, would not be the way it is today.Women would still be expected to stay at home and cook and clean and take care of the children.

I would defiantly consider this film a feminist film.From the very second the movie started, it portrayed the hard work and dedication that every woman has within herself.This movie promotes all of the feminist movements that have occurred in the past and the ones that will occur, hopefully, in the future.From the very first sentences spoken from Watson, there was a sense of hard work and dedication that every women of the feminist movement has always displayed.

Overall, I love this movie.Every time I watch it I am reminded of how much times have changed.Although I can not exactly relate with the situations that these women were put through, I know that the women not long before me, such as my grandmother and great-grandmother, struggled through tough times like these.Although this movie is slightly depressing, it is a very good reminder of what reality was.I would recommend this movie to everyone to see.There are a lot of very good lessons and mistakes to learn of.

Written by; Leah Christian

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