The best film I've seen all year, and I've seen some great films. (by Nazimova23)
This is the most unfairly maligned film of the year. Some critics took it upon themselves to be the defenders of Japanese culture without fully researching their arguments and, in the process, betrayed their own racism. "The film is inauthentic because the actresses do not wear matronly bouffants," one said. Riiiiiight. Matronly bouffants are a Western stereotype! But in any case, some of them do and some don't! THAT'S authenticity. I guess critics wouldn't know that writing reviews without seeing the film or walking out long before it's over some, such as Jeff <more>
Wells, do .Anyway, it's a fantastic film and more than deserving of multiple Academy award nominations - which it may not get thanks to the fact that so many people decided they wanted to use the film as the sacrificial lamb for a half-baked debate about international politics, rather consider that pan-Asian casting for major roles is NOTHING new it's true of House of Flying Daggers, The Joy Luck Club and even Crouching Tiger and that this film's production might represent international cooperation at its best.Look out for Gong Li and Youki Kudoh in RICHLY developed supporting roles. The supporting males, while obviously not as well developed since they spend less time in the geisha quarters, still give incredible performances. Ken Watanabe was excellent, but I particularly enjoyed the performance of the actor playing Nobu. Oprah is right about the sets and costumes; they amongst other things make you want to savor every moment of the film. Some people have argued that the brilliant colors make it seem like some sort of Orientalist fantasy. Truth is that this would only be the case if we saw a departure from a more sedate West to a flamboyant East; instead, the film opens in a rather sedate part of Japan and then takes us to the more colorful geisha district which introduces this fascinating paradox of great suffering in a milieu of tremendous beauty . We know from Chicago that it's simply Rob Marshall's aesthetic to make everything the height of beauty, even if it's a slum. God forbid ENTERTAINMENT CIRCLES should be presented as visually spectacular! The film is by turns funny, moving and, yes, thrilling. Gasps in the audience for the film's third act gave way to sniffles. Ziyi Zhang really managed any language difficulties well; her face has this ripple effect when she's emoting. It's stunning to behold. If I were voting for the Oscars, I'd definitely give her a nomination at the very least. And homegirl can dance, too! Her performance and the film itself are not boring at all; audience members laughed when she was trying to be funny and sighed when she was suffering. IMO, too much happens in the film for it to get boring; there's a strong balance between the rivalries, the details about geisha entertainment and the romance. In the final scene, it all comes full circle. I won't tell you how. See for yourself.My #1 film of the year. Brokeback Mountain, Chronicles of Narnia, Howl's Moving Castle, King Kong and Grizzly Man aren't far behind.
I saw a pre screening of this along with Aeon Flux and this was soooooo much better because it is just stunningly beautiful.Having been a huge fan of the book i was desperate to see the movie and I was not disappointed at all.This movie IS the book it is that damn good.Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh OMG you're performances along with Ken Watanabe made me have soo many emotions pour from my soul fantastic job.Set in pre World War 2 Japan a Geisha who was sold at age 9 becomes the best geisha and strikes the head geisha with jealousy,she also is in love with a man whom she is desperate to <more>
have.Thats the gist of it but i can't give a good synopsis without spoilers being added so i'll leave it at that.The scenery is soo pretty and breathtaking and adds so much to the film.People this movie made me an emotional train wreck,feelings of happiness,sadness,anger,hate,and love surged through me as i watched this piece of cinematic art.Take it from me Memoirs Of a Geisha is this years best film and is guaranteed to receive an academy award.It's that damn good.
Stunningly Beautiful and packed with unspoken emotions (by EnvyMeWicked)
Memoirs of a Geisha achieved the highest degree of cinema. It was a moving piece of art put together by people who has a clearly understanding of what they wanted. Director Rob Marshall devours himself into this project and made the book come to live. The costume, the scenery, and the music were all top notch.It's a shame that the studio removed all of Zhang Ziyi's original voice over through out the film, replacing them with an old woman voicing as the grownup Sayuri. I thought Zhang's voice-over would've added more to her character and it would've been easier for the <more>
audience to identify and feel for her pain and struggles. Since Zhang Ziyi only enters the film 20 mins into the movie, by removing her voice as the narrator also takes away her credibility as the top billing actor, and all of the sudden she just feel like another actress entering the scene.Michelle's portrayed of Mameha was the most faithful to the book. She carried herself well and she was the easier one to understand. She was the voice of reason and her dialogues often helped the transition of Sayuri's growth and the flow of the movie. Gong Li played Hatsumomo, but her version of Hatsumomo is no where near the conniving witch she is in the book. I guess it might've been too over-the-top if she just starts slapping Sayuri asking for her brooch. Gong Li gave a lot in her performance. The scene where she was walking away from the Geisha house after the fire is one of the best moments in the movie. The look that she gave before she walks away says it all. Zhang Ziyi was great, but she was terribly hard to understand at times. Nonetheless, her facial expression says so much, especially the ending and the scene where she's standing on top of the mountain. Moments that make you feel her pain and her longings.When a movie is so meticulously put together, there's no time to think about the accent or the race of the actors, all there is to do is to enjoy of the phenomenon that are presented infront of your eyes. The movie was journey, one that was worth every second.
I lived in Japan for 3 years and I loved the book, rich with visual imagery. I went to the see the movie with a good deal of trepidation, convinced that they were going to butcher it and sex it up to appeal to American audiences. Instead I sat spellbound in my seat as I watched the images that Arthur Golden has created in my mind with words years before, play themselves out on the screen in front of me. Every shot, ever scene, every tiny detail was just beautiful. I literally did not look away from the screen the entire time. The acting wasn't spectacular. I think they could have found <more>
somebody better to play Sayuri. The children were all wonderful. The stand-out actress by far was Gong Li as Hatsumomo. The villain had the best opportunities to show her skills as a thespian. The plot stuck very closely to the book. They eliminated the scenes that they needed to in the interest of time, but they didn't try to take any shortcuts or speed up the plot. I really felt like the story was played out beginning to end without sacrificing any of the meat. You'll read a lot of reviews in the coming weeks praising the gorgeous photography. Every word is true. Words like "lush" and "exquisite" only begin to do it justice. I've never had the experience of being transported to another time by a movie in quite this way.
personally, i don't know what everyone was so anxious about before viewing this movie. i had heard a lot of praise about the cinematography and the depth and emotion of the storyline. who cares if the actors were of different race? i know a lot of people will take offense to that, but being an Asian-American myself, it didn't bother me too much, since it wasn't what i thought of while watching the movie. who has time to think of different dialects and someone being Chinese when a beautiful story of the life of a geisha is being told.i thought maybe the movie would not live up to <more>
the book, but i felt the adaptation was done well. although some of the casting could have been done better, i got chills from mother, angry at hatsumomo, and grew respect for the character of mameha, just as i had from the book. the movie did a fine job establishing the highly disciplined world of a geisha, a world where many sacrifices are to be made.all in all, the movie was fantastic, and if people could just look beyond the issue of worrying about the nationality of a character who is supposed to be Japanese and to me, its not a huge issue I'm sure you will enjoy the movie.
Just returned from a BAFTA preview screening of Memoirs of a Geisha, and it's certainly the best film I've seen this year so far and there isn't exactly long left. The performances are outstanding, everything about the physical setting and cinematography is breathtaking, and it's emotionally rich without feeling twee or sentimental.The Q&A session also reinforced the fact that, despite this being an American-produced film of a novel by an American author, a great deal of both research, training and supervision on-set went into making, for example, the movements of the <more>
geisha as authentic as possible. The issue of non-Japanese actors playing Japanese roles was also addressed - Rob Marshall the director stated quite plainly that, as far as he was concerned, he wanted the best actors for the parts - I'm perfectly happy to give him the benefit of the doubt here, as the members of the cast in question acted their socks off. The reaction has, apparently, been equally positive in Japan, where actors like Ziyi Zhang are anything but unknown.Certainly if you want to see a beautiful, thoughtful, emotional film centred around a little-understood but fascinating aspect of Japanese culture, see this as soon as possible.
Lavish cinematography means 'Memoirs of a Geisha' is never anything less than visually beautiful, and it's hard to think of how any other movie could beat it to an Oscar in this department come March next year. However, the true merit of the film lies in the fact that its sumptuous style does not outweigh substance, something particularly thankful given that such an imbalance was so unfortunately true of House of Flying Daggers, the last major release to star Ziyi Zhang. Instead, the truly enchanting performance of 12-year old Suzaka Oghu, who plays the young Sayuri for the first <more>
half hour, ensures attention is captured within her character's story for the rest of the drama. This allows the script to remain pleasingly understated, and also means the unlikely nature of the romance can be overlooked.The hibernation that the story withdraws into during the wartime years could so easily have been damaging, but in the event the portrayal of how the post-war influx of American troops corrupted Japan's ancient traditions is just as excellent as the rest of the film.
"She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadow. The rest is secret." (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
"Memoirs of a Geisha" is a love story that remains tedious and distant from being an epic love story on scale with Casabalanca, Dr. Zhivago, or even Titanic The story follows one particular Japanese peasant girl whose father sends her and her sister to a famous geisha house Her less attractive sister is sent away to a house of prostitution, and Chiyo is given domestic tasks until the time when she can be trained to be a geisha .Naturally, the main appeal of the film is the glimpse into the true nature of the geisha How a geisha becomes a pinnacle of elegance and class, a <more>
master of entertainment and a royal agent of many gentle graces, how she sells her skills and not her body, how she can be the keeper of traditional arts, and how she can stop a man in his tracks with only one look Yet the film postulates that a geisha's ultimate goal is her debut as a flamboyant dancer, sell her virginity, and pride herself on being well paid for it The film's photography is outstanding, the music score is inventive, the editing is concise and timed perfectly, and Ziyi Zhang overflows with sensitivity, delicacy, and sensuality Zhang has "the sea in her eyes." She is fascinating as the lovely heroine, the tender mood of every man, the quality of being graceful, the gentlemen's companion enclosed by an ever-changing Japan towards the start of World War II The apprentice courtesan stretches the limits of realism for her lifelong devotion to a mysterious wealthy benefactor whose kindness to Sayuri as a child left a lasting impression Sayuri preferred not to insist on her affection, even when time and circumstance conspire to take her away from the man she loves for years at a time, and was subjected to dramatic situations by the rivalry between the opposing Geisha houses "Memoirs of a Geisha" does not submit all its secrets on first viewing; there are many layers of meaning and mystery to be seen again and again Best of all, here is a movie that honors small acts of kindness as the most precious thing we can cherish forever Marshall's film invited us into a hidden and fragile world of traditional arts and culture where agony and beauty live side by side
Going into the film, I had worries with all the slamming critics have given, even though I didn't read all of them in details. However, I'm happy to say it turns out to be one of more satisfying movie experiences of the year.First I echo the sentiment that the film is simply technically perfect. The retro-mood it created had me immensed in the world of geisha from beginning to the end. It's very 1930 Shanghai like. The music score isn't as haunting as the one in CTHD, but it is still masterfully composed and fits in the background very well. It's worth seeing for the big <more>
screen experience alone. The story also never dragged, as each of the three parts flowed nicely. I normally don't like voice-over, but here it really held the movie together and helped to move the story along.As for the accents, the problem has definitely been exaggerated. I was expecting a lot of unpleasant broken English to be spoken, but they all sounded fine to good, not just from the most fluent Michelle Yeoh, but Ken Watanabe, Youki Kudoh who plays Pumpkin and other supporting casts. Gong Li had a few awkward lines at the beginning, and Ziyi had more and is the one who had to try the hardest, but both pulled off admirably and didn't hurt their performances in the process.Talking about performances, I think almost all of them did well. It's much more of an ensemble piece, and I was especially impressed by the young Sayuri and Ken Watanabe.The main problem I have is with character development. It is a Cinderella story at heart, but the good and evil are too clear-cut and lack dimension. I also want to see more ups and downs for the competition between Ziyi and Gong Li. Gong did all she could, but the script didn't allow her to be a worthy opponent. Except for some verbal back-and-forth between the two and a few dirty tricks from Gong, there was no reason to believe why she was the most famous geisha in Japan before Ziyi arrived.In addition, the Mother character is over-the-top and didn't fit the emotional aspect the film quite well, although she did provide some comical moments. The big dance scene had excellent buildup, but the execution of the dance felt flat. It lasted only about 30 seconds, while doubling that and making it more mesmerizing would have made the whole middle act more effective.These flaws didn't overshadow the fact that what was put on screen worked for me. Will I be willing to watch it again with friends? In a heartbeat. Will I recommend it to others? Definitely. With that in mind, I give the film an A-.