Film Review of 'Mona Lisa Smile'

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In the film "Mona Lisa Smile," Julia Roberts plays the role of Kathryn Watson, a teacher who has been allowed back into her profession only if she complies with strict guidelines relating to her lesson plans and their adherence to the status quo. To understand this, the context of the film is important. Watson teaches Art History during a decade the 1950s that is notorious for its singular views of female roles in society. Watson wishes to dislodge these by using her medium of instruction to help her students understand that the world offers more than just one life choice. The ways in which she does this is by using the common ground she shares with her students to lead them to a new understanding not only of the academic content being discussed, but also by interpreting this understanding in a way that can be applied to life itself. The common ground that Kathryn Watson shares with her students is Art History. Her role as instructor is to provide them with knowledge about this subject. For most teachers, this is where it ends. Students are to learn a number of facts that can be regurgitated in as close an imitation as possible during tests and exams. There is no requirement to think critically. The only requirement is a relatively good memory and an ability to commit facts to such a memory. Kathryn Watson, on the other hand, does not believe that this is the only function of teaching. For her, teaching also involves leading students to pathways of thinking that can help

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