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An Invisible Sign is a 2010 American drama film directed by Marilyn Agrelo and starring Jessica Alba, J. K. Simmons, Chris Messina, Sophie Nyweide, and Bailee Madison. Based on the 2001 novel An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender, the film is about a painfully withdrawn young woman who, as a child, turned to math for comfort after her father became ill, and now as an adult, teaches the subject and must help her students through their own crises.[2]

An Invisible Sign
An Invisible Sign Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Marilyn Agrelo
Produced by
  • Jana Edelbaum
  • Rachel Cohen
Screenplay by
  • Michael Ellis
  • Pamela Falk
Based on An Invisible Sign of My Own
by Aimee Bender
Music by Andrew Hollander
Cinematography Lisa Rinzler
Edited by Sabine Hoffmann
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 7, 2010 (2010-10-07) (Hamptons Film Festival)
  • May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06) (USA)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $49,859[1]

For her performance in the film, Bailee Madison received a 2011 Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film.[3]



Mona Gray (Jessica Alba) systematically withdraws from life into a world of mathematics after a mysterious mental illness leaves her father (John Shea) incapacitated and a shell of his former self. Forced by her mother to move out on her own, Mona gets a job as a math teacher at an elementary school. There she discovers she has an unorthodox talent for teaching and finds herself thrust back into life again, with children to care for, and a reason to live. Mona takes special interest in one of her students, Lisa Venus (Sophie Nyweide), whose mother is dying of cancer.

When fellow teacher Ben Smith (Chris Messina) shows romantic interest in her, Mona reverts to some of her old self-destructive impulses. Eventually, Mona discovers her value in the love she shows her students, and Ben's patience is finally rewarded as the two find love in each other.


  • Jessica Alba as Mona Gray
  • Chris Messina as Ben Smith
  • John Shea as Dad
  • Sônia Braga as Mom
  • J. K. Simmons as Mr. Jones
  • Bailee Madison as Young Mona Gray
  • Sophie Nyweide as Lisa Venus
  • Donovan Fowler as Levan Beeze
  • Mackenzie Milone as Ann DiGanno
  • Jake Richard Siciliano as Elmer Gravlaki
  • Emerald-Angel Young as Rita Williams
  • Ian Colletti as Danny O'Mazzi
  • Marylouise Burke as Ms. Gelband
  • Joanna P. Adler as Lisa's mom
  • Ashlie Atkinson as Lisa's Aunt
  • Crystal Bock as Panida Saleswoman
  • Stephanie DeBolt as Ellen
  • Sharon Washington as Levan's Mom
  • Daniel McDonald as Runny Nose Boy
  • Ian Blackman as Ann's Dad
  • Jill Abramovitz as Ann's Mom
  • Daniel Pearce as Danny's Dad
  • Lori Hammel as Danny's Mom
  • Conor Carroll as 5th Grader
  • Brandon Jeffers as Science Kid #1
  • Daniel Dugan as Attorney
  • Blythe Auffarth as Candy Striper
  • Marin Gazzaniga as Hostess
  • Bill Coelius as Movie Patron #1
  • Tom Nonnon as Doctor
  • Lilly Hartley as Female Runner[4]



Aimee Bender's 2001 novel An Invisible Sign of My Own was adapted for the screen by The Wedding Planner scribes Michael Ellis and Pamela Falk.[4]

Filming locations

A test screening was shown at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station, New York. The film premiered at the 18th Hamptons International Film Festival[5] on October 7, 2010. It was released through video on demand on April 1, 2011, and premiered in theaters on May 6, 2011.[6]


The film received universally negative reviews upon release. Rotten Tomatoes reported 0 positive and 14 negative reviews, including mentions to the film's "boredom" and singling out both Alba's performance and Agrelo's direction.[7]


  1. ^ "An Invisible Sign". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ "An Invisible Sign". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Awards for An Invisible Sign". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Marilyn Agrelo (director) (2010). An Invisible Sign (DVD). Orland Park, Illinois: MPI Home Video. 
  5. ^ "HIFF 2010 Program Announced". September 15, 2010. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ "An Invisible Sign". IFC Films. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  7. ^

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