This makes me feel like a traitor to everything I stand for, but I'm going to reveal something to you. In spite of my low-grade intolerance for Wellesley (just kidding!) and general distaste for Julia Roberts, I love Mona Lisa Smile. I obviously don't love it for the cutting edge art history, so it must be for the sweet vintage fashions and hairstyles.
The film essentially follows the academic year of a group of Wellesley friends and their relationship with a lecturer in art history who comes to conservative Wellesley from the wilds of California-- UC Berkley.
Julia Roberts plays the professor who dares to suggest that Picasso and Pollock are important, or something like that. Her high pony and low makeup stand out in a crowd of coiffed hair and red lips-- admittedly, I like this look, but the real gems of the film come in the outfits the students don for special occasions.
I wouldn't advocate this film as a source for feminist values, but rather as an exemplar for femme style. In the scene below, Betty does a photo shoot for the Wellesley newspaper about married girls who continue to excel at schoolwork. While the premise is ludicrous, her apparel is on point, so some of the character's trespasses can be forgiven.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from this post is that Julia Stiles is really hot, especially when she wears red lipstick. If that's the only message I can muster on a Friday evening, then I won't waste my time apologizing.