Monday, September 28, 2009

people didn't understand van gogh.

Mona Lisa Smile
About a week ago, I found a Mona Lisa Smile dvd on 
sale for $4 and bought it. I saw the movie at The Strand with my mom when it first came out, and I remember feeling neutral about it. I watched it last night, and I'm kind of surprised that I had not become obsessed with this movie after first seeing it! It's set at Wellesley College in the early 50s, and tells the story of an art history teacher who attempts to reshape the way her students view modern art (don't laugh, I know I'm super sensitive - the scene where they walk up to the uncrated Jackson Pollack and look at it for the first time made me cry). 
There's something about seeing art
 that I'm aware of in our present time viewed in a different time period - it almost makes the art itself seem different (I know that all art is viewed in an overall different way depending on the times and then the viewer's personal surroundings, but I mean that even for just myself it felt different - a van gogh 55 years younger than it is now, and a society where everyone followed a dress code staring at it, and what it might have/must have meant to them and what they overlooked and failed to see in it). Social circumstances effect the way we see art so heavily, and seeing the way the girls viewed art in the movie (and hearing their pre-conceived notions) was so interesting, and somewhat reminiscent of my first art history classes.
On top of all the wonderful and interesting 
perceptions of art, the costumes are stunning. I got so many ideas for outfits from Julia Roberts' character (she was supposed to be non-conformist, so it was neat to see the way they applied classic 1950s styles to her - lots of high-waisted skirts with mens-style shirts and cardigans and jewelry). It was also really cool to see actresses that I've become fond of in recent years who I did not know of when the movie first came out, like Ginnifer Goodwin. And the music is lovely - there's an acapella version of "Istanbul, Not Constantinople" (which I love because I'm fascinated by the way that Americans in the 1940s and 50s glorified exotic places, i.e. Casablanca and fancy Chinese restaurants).
So anyway, that is my ramble about 
Mona Lisa Smile (also a great title! I love mona lisa, she is all green, grey, and beige, and I love that her smile has become iconic). Have any of you seen it and did you also love it? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Sketchbook pages soon.
xoxo
Amanda

9 comments:

Andi B. Goode said...

I've never seen this film all the way through but you've made me want to!
-Andi x

Amanda Atkins said...

awww, yay! Definitely see it - you would love it. :)

Kirsty said...

Ohh wow! This film looks so good! I have heard of it but I have never seen it. Your lovely post has made me want to though :)

Hope your having a lovely week Amanda! :)

Love Kirsty x

WoolenSails said...

I loved that movie.
Seems there is a lot of garbage on cable lately.
I remember doing batik which I loved and carving a horse from balsa wood in junior high, loved art. The sad thing was, I was almost finished with my horse and someone stole it.

Debbie

Amanda Atkins said...

Kirsty - yes, you'd love this film! I hope you're having a great week too!!

Debbie - that's so sad about your horse! I don't think we ever forget things like that.

ETCIllustration said...

A customer at work (Pearle) gave us a copy of the movie one day (his friend worked on it or something). I've since confiscated it, and it's become one of my movies-to-put-on-while-I-do-art.

It's funny, too, that you mention Julia Roberts' costumes for the movie, because I, too, was very taken with her wardrobe. There's this scene where she's in a cranberry shirt with a high-waisted skirt and she's upset about something and she's standing outside the school while the wind blows around her--I think she's especially pretty there, and I want that outfit.

madeleine said...

....I was going to write a post about how this film set up my ideals for university, but you beat me to it! It got a lot of weird reviews here in Aus, but I loved it and think that it's an amazing display of female talent. Connie and Giselle are my favorites, and I love how you see real growth in all of them, and their choices make sense, unlike a lot of female centered films.

Also, it convinced me that anyone cal wear a full skirt to classes, indeed, one should.

xMadeleine

Amanda Atkins said...

Ellen - I know the scene you are talking about! And I agree. :) It's a perfect movie for during art-making. Also, Mike Dolan's (of AIB) wife was an extra in the movie! I was too lazy to look for her, though. haha

Madeleine - I hope you still write about it! I'd love to read it. I agree, the choices they make are all realistic and none of the characters are perfect. I love Connie and Giselle, too! I also think this movie made me like Julia Stiles, who I hadn't liked too much prior to the movie.

trishiekoh said...

I loved that movie...kristen dunst is so very good in it and so was maggie gyllenhaal.