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Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha
“A story like mine has never been told.”

Movie: Memoirs of a Geisha


Rating: Rated pg13

Director: Rob Marshall

Release Date: December 23, 2005

Cast: Ziyi Zhang, Li Gong, Ken Watanabe, and Youki Kudoh

Every now and then a piece of film waltz its way into our hearts, finds a nice warm corner, and settles there for life. Memoirs of a Geisha, with its exceptional cinematography, did this very thing to me.

There once was a place untouched by the outside world. This place was elusive, and mysterious to all outsiders, its secrets know only to the proud nation in which it was contained. And like all secrets, they last only for awhile.

This story begins on the coast of Japan when a fisherman’s wife becomes dangerously ill and he’s forced to sell his two daughters to a geisha house in the city. Upon their arrival, the two daughters are separated and this devastates the younger child, Chiyo. Chiyo’s first days are met with sorrow and confusion as she adapts to the new life spread ahead of her. Soon, she has faint hopes to become geisha, and might have to live out her life as a slave.

This is an amazing piece of work that received many mixed reviews from the critics, but put them aside and you have an enjoyable use of 2 hours. An extremely colorful film, a wonderful story, and a thought provoking soundtrack combine to make this one of my favorite films of the year. The set designs and costumes are absolutely wonderful and add an authenticity to the film like none other. It’s wonderful when you’re able to recreate a time that has long past and make an audience feel apart of that lost place.

Sayuri, Mameha, Hatsumomo
Ziyi Zhang performs quite well in her role as Sayuri, the geisha which the film is centered around. Her character finally gets a chance to escape from debt and lead a better life when Mameha enters her life. Sayuri soon begins her geisha schooling and the audience is right along side through her teachings. She does an acceptable job with her Cinderella role, giving it spirit and beauty. The combination of well acting and slender figure, make her an enjoyable person to watch on screen.

When Mameha enters Sayuri’s life, all we know is that she’s feared, well respected, and gorgeous as well. So who else better to portray this woman then the alluring actor known as Michelle Yeoh? At the age of 43, she is still dazzling, radiant, and fair. This elegant “fairy godmother” figure adds to the Cinderella essence of the film, and it’s quite enjoyable to watch.

Simply put, this film is a fascinating journey into a world that was once hidden. It has eye popping designs that resemble Japan’s ancient culture to a degree hardly reached with ease. This is a must see for those who find the Japanese culture interesting sense the movie explains some of the ways of geishas.

While parts might seem a bit slow for some, others might enjoy it with great enthusiasm. In the end, it all comes down to whether you put more weight on cinematography or acting. If you scrutinize over the latter, your enjoyment might be less then others. But the set and costume designs are enough to wow just about anybody. In my book, this film goes down as the most artistic of the year and is now a top favorite in my movie collection.