Mona Lisa Smile

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Mona Lisa Smile

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Brian Yoder: [...] Self-determination is of course a great thing, but in my own experience, "going with the flow" in school would have meant adopting the ideas championed by the film and rejecting what they called the orthodoxy.

Jeffery LeMieux: I feel exactly the same way. One thing I failed to mention earlier was that I see Mona Lisa Smile as similar to The Matrix in that it does kind of bring the public eye to Art as something worthy of debate just as The Matrix brought Cartesian philosophy to the fore. While I don't necessarily agree with the message, I think its better to be thinking about the subject than ignoring it.

Of course keeping ideas alive in the culture is a good thing, but I can't say that either of those movies educated anyone very much about the issues or gave reasons for any kind of deep reflection. Actually, one of the things I thought was a bit annoying about the philosophical forays in The Matrix was how perversely disjointed they were. There's a little Buddhism over here, a little postmodernism over there, a little Christianity over there, and all tied together by a fuzzy-minded aversion to judgment which is what the Wachowski brothers truly brought to the film (which is pretty much garden variety postmodernist relativist fatalism they no doubt picked up in school). That they sprinkled this premise with little references to Descartes, Dante, Moses, and Bruce Lee doesn't change its basic character.

--Brian