Memoirs of a Geisha

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Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks, Spyglass Entertainment, Amblin Entertainment and Red Wagon Productions Released 2005

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Movie Summary

Director:
Rob Marshall (I)
Released:
2005
Rating:
PG-13

Memoirs of a Geisha, based on a novel of the same title, is a stunningly beautiful film set in early 19th century Japan. Winner of Academy Awards in Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design, this film is a visual treat that depicts the fall and rise of an abandoned young girl into the district's most famous geisha. The transformation of orphan Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo) into geisha Sayuri (Zhang Ziyi) is not without its costs. The willful young girl must learn how to be subject to a master's will, to serve those whom she hates, and to step on her friends in order to succeed. It is in part a coming-of-age story, but it is also a love story, for what compels Sayuri to fulfill her potential as a geisha is not merely the need to survive. As a girl, she is touched by a chance encounter with a kind stranger, and her desire to be worthy of his presence compels her to take the only path that can reunite them.

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Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    From a filmmaking point of view, this is a work that the old Hollywood moguls themselves would have been proud to present.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano

    Spanning two decades and a momentous war, Memoirs of a Geisha displays all the pomp and grandeur of an epic, but you wouldn't call it sweeping.

  • 50

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    Mr. Marshall can't rescue the film from its embarrassing screenplay or its awkward Chinese-Japanese-Hollywood culture klatch, but Memoirs of a Geisha is one of those bad Hollywood ...

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Categories

Drama

Themes

Love & Romance, period piece, rags to riches, bottom of the food chain, characters with hidden agendas