In 1953, free spirited and non-orthodox art history teacher Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts) accepts the challenge of teaching in the conservative Wellesley College. She leaves her boy-friend Paul Moore (John Slattery) in California and share a house with the teacher Nancy Abbey (Marcia Gay Harden) and the nurse Amanda (Juliet Stevenson).
On the first day, her class fails under the leadership of the arrogant Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst) and her friends Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles) and Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), but Katherine is advised by her mates and the Italian teacher Bill Dunbar (Dominic West) to not fear the students. Soon Katherine learns that the girls are only waiting to catch Mr. Nice Guy and get married and she fights against the status- quo of Wellesley and to keep her independence.
“Mona Lisa Smile” is an entertaining movie about a woman living ahead of time in a conservative environment. The performances are top-notch, highlighting Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal