Drama Won't Make It to Top of the Class; Damon Smith Reviews the Latest Cinema Releases Mona Lisa Smile (12A,119mins) Drama. Julia Roberts,Kirsten Dunst,Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Ginnifer Goodwin,Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson,Marcia Gay Harden,John Slattery, Topher Grace

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 12, 2004 | Go to article overview

Drama Won't Make It to Top of the Class; Damon Smith Reviews the Latest Cinema Releases Mona Lisa Smile (12A,119mins) Drama. Julia Roberts,Kirsten Dunst,Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Ginnifer Goodwin,Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson,Marcia Gay Harden,John Slattery, Topher Grace


Byline: Damon Smith

AMERICAN college administrator William Arthur Ward once noted: ``The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.''

Mona Lisa Smile is a syrupy tale of scholarly ambition about a great teacher who inspires her flock of impressionable young girls to flaunt convention and follow their dreams.

Recent UCLA graduate Katherine Watson (Roberts)moves from California to leafy New England to take up an art history teaching position at Wellesley College.

Unlike the other teachers,Katherine encourages her students to think independently and she inspires them to follow their hearts.

However, upper crust Betty Warren(Dunst), whose mother pulls the purse strings on the board of governors, resents Katherine's challenge to the status quo and she openly defies her new teacher at every turn. Mona Lisa Smile is oestrogen-fuelled melodrama-by- numbers. Think Dead Poetess Society or The Prime Of Ms Julia Broody.

Grade C+. Could do much better.

Rating: 5/10Honey (PG,94mins) Drama. Jessica Alba,Mekhi Phifer,Lil'Romeo,David Moscow,Zachary Williams, Joy Bryant,Anthony Sherwood,Lonette McKee.

HONEY Daniels (Alba)dreams of making it big as a choreographer and dancer.

By day, she teaches hip hop classes at a local centre for neighbourhood kids. By night, she works behind the bar of a bustling nightclub where she gets to showcase her hot dance moves at the end of her shift.

Lady luck finally smiles on Honey when renowned director Michael Ellis (Mostow) spots her on the dance-floor and offers he a spot as a back-up dancer.

Rating: 6/10The Principles of Lust (18,108mins) Thriller. Alec Newman,Sienna Guillory,Marc Warren, Alexander Popplewell,Julian Barratt,Mark Catley,Lara Clifton,Gwyn Hollis,Kelly Hollis,Nisha K Nayar,Colin Nutton,Anna Peters. …

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Drama Won't Make It to Top of the Class; Damon Smith Reviews the Latest Cinema Releases Mona Lisa Smile (12A,119mins) Drama. Julia Roberts,Kirsten Dunst,Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Ginnifer Goodwin,Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson,Marcia Gay Harden,John Slattery, Topher Grace
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