Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Currently Crushing On: Mona Lisa Smile


So I went on a Lifetime binge a couple of days ago, mostly because they were playing some great movies that I hadn't seen in a while. Among those was Mona Lisa Smile.

Mona Lisa Smile was released in 2003, and is about a liberal art history teacher moving to teach at Wellesley, a conservative all-women's university in the 1950s. Far more than that, however, it is about a teacher who is strong and independent minded teaching students that there is more to life than getting married and having babies.

The part of the movie that struck me the most was a memorable scene between Dr. Watson (played by Julia Roberts) and Joan Brandwyn (played by Julia Stiles). After finding out that Joan was accepted to Yale, Dr. Watson realizes Joan will turn down the law program to move with her boyfriend to Penn State.


This scene really highlights to me the difference between old Feminism and new Feminism. While old Feminism would have scoffed and looked down on someone who was a housewife as "settling" and not achieving their dreams, new Feminism says that all women should have a choice to do whatever they choose to do without fear of being judged, even if that is staying home with the kids and not being a career woman or choosing not to marry and settle down.

wandering

What do you think? Have you seen Mona Lisa Smile?

16 comments:

  1. Love that movie (even though it does make me very sad to think about the pressure that young women were under during that time)! I actually majored in Gender Studies in college, and I'm fascinated how things have changed from first wave feminism (Seneca Falls Convention, Susan B. Anthony, etc.) to fourth wave (which is what we're in now). I love that the movement is focused on an all-inclusive approach now--empowerment means giving others the ability to make choices for themselves. Great post! :)

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    1. Exactly! Although I'm very driven, my best friend is a housewife, and she stays home with her four babies. I support her 100% because I know it's all she's ever wanted to do with her life, and if she is happy, then who am I to judge?

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  2. I did see it, and I remember being struck by that scene. What I liked about it is that the movie's plot had the teacher learning as much as her students, rather than it being a one way street where the teacher "saved" them.

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    1. Exactly! As a former teacher, I know that students teach the teacher as much as the teacher teaches the students. It's important to always be evolving!

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  3. Love that movie! watched it again a few weeks ago. I love the scene when it's her second day of class and she totally catches her students off-guard. :) And I agree with Skye, I like that her character learns from her students, and learns more about herself as well.

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    1. Haha! I know! Their faces.. They didn't know what the heck is going on!

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  4. I've seen that movie more than once and I really love it. One other thing I really liked is that the contact with the teacher makes the other student not accept the cheating of the husband and look for a divorce where her environment would clearly prefer she'd put on a shiny facade.

    Alex - Funky Jungle - Facebook

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    1. I know! I think it's so important for teachers to empower their students to make the best choices for themselves. I'm just glad Betty came around eventually.

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  5. Love this movie! It really makes us realize how incredibly lucky we are for getting to choose our career path and life path.

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  6. I feel old. I remember seeing Mona Lisa Smiles in theaters opening night.

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    1. It's only been 11 years since it came out! Don't start feeling old yet!

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  7. I saw it a long time ago on a plane. I love that quote!

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  8. I love that movie! I do love the message in this movie that women can be more than just housewives.

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  9. This is 100% true!! Thank you so much for sharing. It's been years since I've seen Mona Lisa Smile but I need to go watch it again!

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