Just call me Saffron, will you?

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Monday, March 01, 2004

I've always wondered what is so intriguing about Mona Lisa's smile. By my standards, she's not conventionally beautiful. And it baffles me why thieves would steal Mona Lisa away over and over again. Yet, there's just something about Mona Lisa that is strangely captivating, and I can't quite figure out just what that X-factor is till now.

Last night, I went to watch Mona Lisa Smile with a friend of mine. Of course, I did my homework beforehand and checked out the reviews before going to the cinemas. I'm soooo not paying for something that supposedly *bad*. However, this is an exceptional case. I went ahead to watch it even though the reviews were less than kind. Ohkay, so I'm a cheapskate and my ticket was paid for.

But the point is, I went anyway. And I came out thinking. So I don't think that much. BIG DEAL.

As I was saying, I came out of the cinema actually thinking. In my very humble opinion, the reviews were a little too harsh. Truthfully, Mona Lisa Smile was a pretty good effort, though there are loopholes here and there that'll need a bit of work. But as a whole, it reminded me of The Hours, where, on really rare occasions, men were secondary to women.

There's this strange indescribable beauty about being a woman that I can't quite put into words. A woman laughs, cries and carries the weight of many problems on her shoulders. A woman is born with a responsibility that only she alone can fulfill. A woman is...how should I put it...a woman is a friend, mother, teacher, wife, confidante...and most of the time, much more than all that.

Perhaps that was what Mona Lisa Smile is all about. Women are born with a certain kind of childish naivete, the determination that they can change the world, that they have what it takes to make a difference. Enter Julia Roberts's character Katherine Watson who believed that she will be able to teach women that they have an alternative route in life besides being a man's wife. She was passionate about art and she was passionate about living life as a person, not confine herself to the restrictions of being just a woman. She reminded me of someone I know. Someone who's totally devoted to helping others that she sometimes forgets the very reason of her own existence.

"Why can't you just be honest?"

And then we have Betty Warren played by Kirsten Dunst. Rich, beautiful, an unbelievable snob. She was born...perfect. Except that she wasn't. Being the bitch that she was, I was surprised at how much I felt for her character, because somehow, somewhere, I'm almost sure that I have met a Betty Warren at some point of time in my life.

"She's smiling, but is she really happy?"

I've always thought that Julia Stiles plays the best roles. I loved her in 10 Things I Hate About You and I loved her in Mona Lisa Smile. So she's young, she's smart and she's beautiful. She's one of those few who actually know what she wants in life and how to get there. I'd think that she'd make the correct choices with a good head on her shoulders. Any sane person would think that. Funnily enough, she didn't. It didn't take a genius to figure out why she chose what she chose. But it frustrates me a lot when intelligent people make unwise decisions. I can't count the number of times when I've seen intelligent people make the wrong choices and suffer from the consequences. It hurts to see them that way.

"It is my choice. This is what I want."

A day after I walked out of the cinema, I'm still thinking. I wondered what God had in mind when he created Eve. I wondered if God knew that the subsequent Eves that dotted the world would be put through trying times over and over again. And then I wondered why Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa with a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes and touch others' hearts.

Someone once told me that a woman is all about essence. I suppose Mona Lisa's smile is a close representation of what a woman is.


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