Mona Lisa's Smile

What a fun movie! Julia Roberts stars as a rookie art history professor from the west coast who lands a job at snobby Wellesly College in 1953. It is the typical bohemian-teacher-wins-over-uptight-students story line, but it works.

While poking not-so-gentle fun at the 1950s, the movie also presents the best of the 50s: the music. The score is filled with chestnuts from the era, including Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa," but also has some very well done classical choir numbers performed in the college chapel. Music can make a movie.

I don't attend many movies, and I don't think I have ever seen Julia Roberts before. She's a charmer. Just as there was something about Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give" that irritated me completely, there is something about Julia Roberts in "Mona Lisa's Smile" that won me over. I don't know anything about her history, but I suspect she is from the Midwest. And I suspect that Diane Keaton is not. My preference for Roberts might be nothing more than regional prejudice. It didn't hurt that the Roberts movie poked fun at the east coast elite while the Keaton flick never went beyond the Hamptons (the beachfront playground for Manhattan's rich) in its assumptions.

If you go to this movie, stay in your seats while the credits roll. The last song will go round in your head for the next day. At least it has in mine.