Beautiful, Brilliant and One of the Best Performances I've S
Zach Kluckman | 04/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure we're all seeing the same movie here. One comment I keep hearing is that the actresses did not perform well, and I cannot comprehend it. Ziyi Zhang especially gave one of the best performances I have seen in years, at least. Just look at her physically shaking during her last scene with Ken Watanabe. This complete giving over to the emotion of the character is nearly unsurpassed in anything I've seen in years, and I'm a huge cinemaphile. That's not to mention the flawless way she carried the postures and demeanor of the child star that played her young self through-out, giving a sense of consistency that I have almost never seen done this well. It's early impossible to remember that these two actresses are not really the same person with the way their performances meshed. So, maybe it's the reserved nature of Asian women, and the dualing of this nature with a sense of individuality and self-expression that people are interpreting as "not understanding the character"? All I can say is, the cinematography and settings are gorgeous, as are the actresses (and what a stellar cast!), the performances are great (maybe the bar has been lowered so much lately that the degree of skill brought to the screen here is more than some people can handle). That's the only reason I can offer for the bad reactions I have heard. The story is involving, and very realistic in terms of human nature. The romance is wonderful. There are flashes of humor and some of the script is pure poetry (and as a poet you can believe me on that!) I could go on all day, but let me just say this. The movie is awesome, and the time flew by for me. It is not the over-wrought heart-rending sap that some may want it to be, but it is very true to the way most people behave, and especially in the reserved manner of the Japanese. In my book everyone involved in this deserves a huge round of kudos, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys beautiful things, and incredibly realized films."
Beautiful movie @}->---
Little Miss Cutey | Melbourne, Australia | 02/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Memoirs of a Geisha is a stunning movie. I haven't read the book, but now wish I had. The movie is close to 2 1/2 hours long, but the story and scenery are so captivating, it seems so much quicker. The costumes are fantastic and it's no wonder they are nominated for Oscars. It tells the story of a little girl called Chiyo who along with her older sister, is sold by their father who has no money. The people who bought her, want to make her a geisha so she goes off to school but brings disgrace to herself and therefore they make her their slave. Upon chance, she meets a kind man who buys her a sweet cherry ice cone. She never forgets him and sees him again by chance some years later. Now she has hope and learns again (in a crash course) how to be a geisha and her new name is Sayuri. The story that unfolds from there has ups and downs but the ending is so moving that of course I cried my head off. The setting is beautiful and it made me want to go and visit Japan. The music too is lovely and I hope they do get some Oscars next week because it's a very deserving movie. There is also a great performance by an actress called Li Gong who plays 'Queen Bitch' Hatsumomo and look for a small role played by Ted Levine who we normally see in a funny role as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer in Monk. Beautiful move that you absolutely have to see. (Especially on the big screen if you still can)."
Once upon a cherry blossom time...
Jina Bacarr | 03/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Could any film capture the beauty and eroticism of the geisha? I wondered before I saw the film. I've spent years studying and writing about the geisha and their tantalizing walk, elegant mannerisms, and striking, ageless beauty. The geisha exudes an air of mystery that both entices and seduces.
Fashionista or femme fatale? Who are the geisha really?
Gei-sha literally translates to "art person." They are trained musicians, conversationalists, and party hostesses all rolled into one. They are not prostitutes. In fact, the first geisha were men. Yes, men.
Around 1730 during Japan's Edo period (1601-1868), only men were allowed to entertain in the pleasure quarters housing the courtesans. Women soon took over the role of geisha, demonstrating their mastery of arts of conversation, song, dance, and musical instruments. The geisha were known strictly as entertainers and were prohibited from engaging in sex with customers. That was the job of the courtesan. Geisha also "dressed down," wearing simple and elegant kimonos so as not to compete with the courtesan. Geisha weren't even allowed to sit near the courtesan's customers. They were true artisans making a living at their craft.
I loved the way Rob Marshall portrayed the geisha training in the film. I was swept away by the beauty and lushness I saw portrayed on the screen. As many have criticized, the makeup and costumes may not be authentic and the sets Hollywood-bound, but the story of Sayuri transcends all these factors. The geisha sisterhood is a tradition that crosses over to all cultures and has an effect on each of us. We are all sisters.
I believe the film bridges the differences between East and West by telling a dramatic and fascinating story in such a way that every woman can embrace it. Is it a fairy tale? Maybe. But that's what pleases the heart most.
And fairy tales last forever. "
I liked the damn thing! So there!
Kosto Barry Granlund | New York, NY | 07/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know, for a change of pace from the usual Hollywood crap consisting of ultra violence, formula sex scenes, and predictable time-sensitive plots filled with cliche' elements, this movie really struck me as both nice and enjoyable. From all the hyper over-kill critiques in the reviews here, I kind of wonder just what these other viewers want? More of the same "as-par-usual" Hollywood shlock, perhaps? To me, the music score, locations, costuming, and delicate portrayals of the characters just sort of "Work" and take you away to glimps a higly interesting, refined, and sophisticated culture. Not only that, the babes doing the acting ( Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, and of course cutie Ziyi Zhang !! )are absolutely SMOKIN' HOT! Actually, there's nothing I didn't like about this movie. Something I wish I could say about a lot of others I've seen."
Beautiful film; wonderful performances
Nicole Bradshaw | Jackson, MS USA | 11/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the novel this film is based on and loved it, so I was looking forward to the movie when it was released. I was pleased to see that the movie followed the book very closely. The film was absolutely beautiful, with arresting shots of the geisha as they went about their daily tasks and beautiful pans of the gorgeous faces of the actresses. There were also a few nice shots of (what was supposed to be) the Japanese countryside.
The film follws Chiyo (Sayuri), a young girl from the country who grows to become one of the most celebrated geisha in pre-war Japan. I know that there was a big stink when the film came out that some of the actresses cast were Chinese, rather than Japanese, but I say phooey on that. You cast an actor to play a role. I've seen plenty of straight actors turn in wonderfully nuanced performances of gay characters. I've seen plenty of older actors play roles that were younger than they were, and vice versa. So what? The director's job is to find the right actor for the role, and that actor may or may not be the exact nationality referred to in the script. The point is, does this performer tell the story?
And the performers in Memoirs of a Geisha definitely do. Ziyi Zhang (Chiyo/Sayuri), Li Gong (Hatsumomo), and Michelle Yeoh (Mameha) all give their characters a wonderful depth and subtext, and I really enjoyed them. I know that some critics also huffed about the movie being Westernized, with the actors all speaking English, etc. Wha . . . ? The movie is based on a book written by Arthur Golden, a middle-aged white guy from Tennessee. How can you get more Western than that? Anyway, I personally found the film to be a visual jewel with fabulous performances. I recommend it. "