Maggie Gyllenhaal Weekend – Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin, Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson, Marcia Gay Harden

Plot: A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 1950s Wellesley girls to question their traditional social roles.


Tagline – They had everything. She showed them more.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: Mona Lisa Smile starts when Katherine Ann Watson (Roberts) takes a teaching role at the prestigious Wellesley College, one with the social traditions taught to girls studying they’re from the upper-class families. Katherine learns that her class with includes Betty Warren (Dunst), Joan Brandwyn (Stiles), Giselle Levy (Gyllenhaal) and Connie Baker (Goodwin) know the whole textbook on the first day.

Katherine must learn to keep her head down, while trying to teach the young women about being thinking instead of following the traditions they have been raised to believe are the only way to go. With Katherine showing them a new look at life the pressure starts getting thrown back at her by the parent’s of the students, with some wanting to accept it, while others are happy to stay in the line they believe is right.

Thoughts on Mona Lisa Smile

Characters – Katherine Ann Watson is an arts history teacher that is known for her free-thinking ways that doesn’t follow the traditional ways of the school, she does want to teach the women they don’t have to just get married and become housewives, she must remain in a position which will see the higher ups in the school question her beliefs and methods. Katherine will help develop these young women to understand they can be more in life. Betty Warren is the daughter of the head of the school, she is engaged and ready to finish school and become a housewife, everything she has been taught is right for her, she isn’t afraid to report anyone going against the traditions and questions her own friends for trying to be different. Joan Brandwyn is one of the students who also believes she is meant to just get married, she did want to study law and Katherine pushes her to follow her dream an apply for law school, this puts Joan in a position of not knowing what she should do next. Giselle Levy has been having an affair with one of the professor, she pushes the other girls into trying to break the rules more which is the way she feels like she fits in.

PerformancesJulia Roberts is wonderful in this leading role, being the truly free-thinking which does seem to reflect her own acting career at times. Kirsten Dunst is great too showing that in the early 2000s, she was nearly untouchable in her acting. Julia Stiles is great to breaking away from the romantic comedies she had been doing. Maggie Gyllenhaal shows that she was going to go onto bigger projects with her wonderful supporting performance and Ginnifer Goodwin is wonderful in this film too.

StoryThe story here follow a free-thinking professor that takes a job in a prestigious women’s school where she wants to help the young women start to think for themselves instead of following the traditions set up for them to follow, her thinking does upset the normal in the beliefs, as she just wants to make a difference to these women’s lives. When you look back at the story and time it is set, it does show us just how frustrating the mentality was. You could compare this to ‘Dead Poets Society’ with a teaching trying to show students life can be different to what they have been raised to believe. The story does show us enough of a previous problem in life and does show how people would have changed if they were given a glimpse into the life they could have.

SettingsThe film is set around the school in which Katherine teaches, it shows how the rules are going to be difficult to follow or understand and how people will constantly be looking down on people trying to change thing.


Scene of the Movie – The flowers of goodbye.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters are too generic.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at how somebody wanted to help make a change to the normal which should never have been the normal, we have five excellent leading lady performances too.

Overall: Wonderful look at change.

Rating

Zootropolis (2016)

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Plot: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Safe Enjoyable Film

 

Story: Zootropolis starts as we meet a young Judy Hopps who cleverly tells the story of how all the animals live in peace before show how she wants to be the first bunny cop. Having achieved this Judy Hopps moves to Zootopia to start her career only to be left on parking duty by Chief Bogo even with 14 missing mammals cases open.

On her first day Judy learns the hard way not to trust anyone after running into Nick Wilde a hustler in the big city. Upsetting the Chief Judy finds herself searching for one of the missing mammals or losing her job and who she turns to is Nick. The further Judy gets into the case the deeper she gets into a bigger case going on in the city.

Zootropolis brings us what we expect to see from an animated film where we have a film that encourages you to follow your dreams, yes we have seen this plenty of time. The story following the odd couple trying to solve the case comes of very repetitive through the film with it just being here’s a clue here is another clue etc etc. As for this being a film just to enjoy it is fine because the jokes do come off working with the family getting plenty of jokes through the film.

 

Character Review

 

Judy Hopps: Judy is the first bunny cop in the city of Zootopia, she has always overcome the odds and her first day it is nothing different. Standing up for herself she takes a case against the Chief’s wishes only to be given an ultimatum but uncovering something bigger than any other case. Judy is a good strong Disney character but not the most original at that.judy

Nick Wilde: Nick is a hustler fox that clashes with Judy early on as he tries to teach her the harsh lessons in the city but ends up getting tricked back into helping Judy uncover where the missing mammals are going. Nick is a good character but I do feel it steals a lot from Fantastic Mr Fox.

Chief Bogo: Chief doesn’t like the idea that he has to have a bunny working in his police force, he keeps her on parking duty and forces her to quit if she doesn’t find a missing mammal in 48 hours. Chief Bogo is very typical authority character not bringing anything fresh to the genre.

Bellwether: Bellwether is the assistant mayor who is happy to help Judy as she is looking to help any of the fellow small mammals in the big city. Bellwether is good but yet again very generic.

Support Characters: Zootropolis has so very funny supporting characters that all poke fun at how we think the animals would act if they were in peace.

Director Review: Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Rich MooreThe trio do make a safe and enjoyable film that doesn’t challenge.

 

Action: Zootropolis has good animated action being used throughout the film.

Adventure: Zootropolis puts our two odd couple work really well in this animation.

Animation: Zootropolis is always going to get top marks on the animated side of the film because of who made it.

Comedy: Zootropolis has good laughs throughout and jokes the whole family will understand.

Family: Zootropolis is one the whole family can enjoy together.

Settings: Zootropolis has a clever spin on settings by having animals all living like humans in peace.

Suggestion: Zootropolis is one for the whole family to watch together. (Watch With The Family)

 

Best Part: Sloths.

Worst Part: Repetitive.

Favourite Quote: Chief Bogo ‘Life isn’t some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.’

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Maybe.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Will most likely get nominated for Best Animated.

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: Welcome to the urban jungle.

 

Overall: Enjoyable animated film that has clever twist being used.

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