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Can't help but 'Smile'

MONALISA In Vancouver, it's spring break. Some 538,000 children across the province of British Columbia children are off school for the next 9 days, and parents are scrambling to find something with which to keep their children occupied during this period.

How fortunate, then, that Columbia Tri-Star home video has just released Mona Lisa Smile, an engaging and watchable "noble teacher" period drama (think Dead Poet’s Society) about a progressive art-history professor (Julia Roberts) who transports her bohemian West Coast sensibilities to the upper-crust East Coast Wellesley College. On teacher Katherine Watson's first day in class, she discovers that the student body is all brain and no imagination. The girls are hyperintelligent slaves to the textbook, mere regurgitators of established wisdom — including the widely held belief that the degree they want is just flypaper to attract the husband they need. Exemplary feminist melodrama, Mona Lisa Smile is this week's video / DVD recommendation. And a good one it is, too.

Also, new at your local video store this second weekend in March: Undefeated, a made-for-HBO-TV story about a boxer who rises in rank to be the champion of his weight class only to lose touch with his principles; and, Red Water, the story of a pair of ruthless criminals who search for stolen drug money that's been dropped in a river (do you think that there might be a man-eating bull shark in that river?).

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at March 13, 2004 10:38 AM in Video & DVD


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