Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Mona Lisa (1986)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

George emerges from a long prison spell to find his own daughter barely recognises him and her mother never wants to see him again. He hunts down his old boss, Denny Mortwell - a gangster for whom he took the fall that led to his imprisonment - hoping for a little payback. Instead he gets lumbered with a job driving a tall, skinny black prostitute named Simone. As he chauffeurs her around between high class clients, their initial animosity fades and they become friends.

The closer they get, the more protective George becomes, and when Simone asks him to help her find an old friend he goes out of his way to help. Simone tells him she once worked the streets with another prostitute named Cathy and although she herself managed to escape, she is terrified of what may have happened to Cathy.

George delves deep into the seedy underbelly of Thatcher's London, where he eventually picks up Cathy's trail. Unfortunately she is under the guard of a ruthless pimp who has close connections to Denny Mortwell. Despite this, George risks his life to rescue her from the clutches of an aging sadist and flees to Brighton. While Simone attempts to help the girl go cold turkey from her drug addiction, George realises that the pair are lovers.

Devastated at the realisation that he and Simone are never to be, George dramatically confronts her on the pier. They are interrupted by the pimp and his henchman, who chase them back to the hotel. Unfortunately Denny Mortwell is waiting there and the situation escalates until Simone shoots both him and the pimp in a vengeful rage. George walks away desolate, leaving Simone with her junkie lover behind. He finds comfort back in London in the company of his best mate and a growing relationship with his estranged daughter.