Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Kaori Momoi, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe, Koji Yakushu, Youki Kudoh

Directed by: Rob Marshall

PG-13. 105 mins

Gorgeous production and some engaging performances cannot save the film from it’s hollow screenplay and (possibly offensive) historical inaccuracies which give us a glimpse of Asia through Western eyes. Based on Arthur Golden’s novel, the story follows young Chiyo (Ziyi Zhang) who, after the death of her mother, is sent away to a geisha house in 1930s Kyoto, Japan. There she learns the life of a geisha and fuels the jealousy that head geisha Hatsumomo (Kaori Momoi) feels towards her. Under the wise tutelage of Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), legendary geisha and Hatsumomo’s rival, Chiyo transforms into Sayuri – the most beautiful geisha in all the land. Desired by many men, Sayuri only longs from one (Ken Watanabe) who made a lasting impression on her years ago. Memoirs of a Geisha is visually stunning and much like a geisha, a “moving work of art” but many will find it doesn’t please their souls as much as their eyes – * * * 1/2

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