Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite Quotes from "Mona Lisa's Smile"

My favorite movies include Mona Lisa's Smile, Crash, Bastard out of Carolina, The Hours, and Provoked.
Some of my favorite quotes, however, come mostly from Mona Lisa's Smile (if you haven't watched it yet, it's a brilliant movie! Certainly put it on your "must-see films"), and that's mostly because friends tell me I'm as "crazy" as Ms. Watson in this movie (played by Julia Roberts) and that I'm likely to "corrupt the minds of innocent women just like Ms. Watson did." So, lemme share some here, as per the request of a questioner, who asked me what my favorite movie quotes are. I have recorded them for myself elsewhere, and I read them often to remind myself why I do what I do.

The movie takes place in 1950s America. In the conversations below, Katherine Watson is the teacher, and everyone else is her student, unless otherwise specified.
Katherine Watson: Look beyond the paint. Let us try to open our minds to a new idea.
Joan Brandwyn: You gave me a C.
Katherine Watson: I'm kind.
Joan Brandwyn: The assignment was to write about Bruegel. That's what I did.
Katherine Watson: No, what you did was copy Strauss.
Joan Brandwyn: I was referencing an expert.
Katherine Watson: If I wanted to know what he thought, I'd buy his book.
Katherine Watson: "Carcass", by Soutine, 1925. Is it any good? C'mon, ladies, there's no wrong answer. There's also no textbook telling you what to think. It's not that easy, is it?
Betty Warren: Alright, no. It's not good. In fact, I wouldn't even call it art. It's grotesque.
Connie Baker: Is there a rule against art's being grotesque?
Giselle Levy: I think there's something aggressive about it. And erotic.
Betty Warren: To you, everything is erotic.
Giselle Levy: Everything *is* erotic.
Susan Delacorte: Aren't there standards?
Betty Warren: Of course there are! Otherwise, a tacky velvet painting could be equated to a Rembrandt!
Connie Baker: Hey, my Uncle Ferdie has two tacky velvet paintings. He loves those clowns.
Betty Warren: There *are* standards! Technique, composition, color, even subject. So, if you're suggesting that rotted side of meat is art, much less *good* art, then what are we going to learn?
Katherine Watson: Just that. You have outlined our new syllabus, Betty, thank you. What is art? What makes it good or bad, and who decides?
Katherine Watson: 25 years ago, someone thought this was brilliant.
Betty Warren: Who?
Katherine Watson: My mother. I painted it for her birthday. Next slide. This is my mom. Is it art?
Susan Delacorte: It's a snapshot.
Katherine Watson: If I told you Ansel Adams had taken it, would that make a difference?
Betty Warren: Art isn't art until someone says it is.
Katherine Watson: It's art!
Betty Warren: The right people.
Katherine Watson: And who are they?
Giselle Levy: Betty Warren! We're so lucky we have one of them right here.
Charlie Stewart: My parents say my future is right on the horizon.
Connie Baker: Tell them the horizon is an imaginary line that recedes as you approach it.
Katherin Watson (talking to one of her students): Since your wedding, you've missed six classes, a paper and your midterm.
Betty Warren (the student, talking to her classmates): I was on my honeymoon and then I had to set up house. What does she expect?
Katherine: Attendance.
Connie Baker (another student): [timidly] Most of the faculty turn their heads when the married students miss a class or two.
Katherine: Well, then why not get married as a freshman? That way you could graduate without actually ever stepping foot on campus.
Betty: Don't disregard out traditions just because you're subversive.
Katherine: Don't disrespect this class just because you're married.
Betty: Don't disrespect me just because you're not.
Katherine: Come to class, do the work, or I'll fail you.
Betty: If you fail me, there will be consequences.
Katherine: Are you threatening me?
Betty: I'm educating you.
Katherine: That's *my* job.
Katherine Watson: I give up, you win. The smartest women in the country, I didn't realize that by demanding excellence I would be challenging... what did it say?
[Walks over to a student and picks up her copy of the editorial]
Katherine Watson: What did it say? Um... the roles you were born to fill. Is that right?
[Looks up at Betty]
Katherine Watson: The roles you were born to fill? It's, uh, it's my mistake.
[Katerine drops the student's paper back onto her desk]
Katherine Watson: Class dismissed.
[Katherine walks out of the classroom]


  1. awesome! will definitely watch the movie now!

  2. ;) Glad the quotes convinced you! :D

  3. Absolutely one of my favorite movies! :) And my favorite parts are the ones you quoted.

  4. :D Thanks for the comment, US! Julia did a great job it, didn't she!

    I watched it in, I think, 2005, and I realized how much such movies empowered me. Do watch The Hours if you haven't already.

  5. I love that movie too, it's absolutely magnifiscent.


Dare to opine :)

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