Memoirs of a Geisha

   23 January 2006, mid-morning

I read Memoirs of a Geisha several years ago. I didn’t expect the film adaptation to be any good. There is so much in the book that I couldn’t see them cramming into the movie. The book, and the movie, are about how a young girl from a fishing village ends up becoming one of the most celebrated Geisha of her time. The movie actually is pretty true to the book. It really only veers away from the story at a couple points. There are several subplots and people dropped from the film, but they did a good job keeping the core story intact. There are couple good reasons you may want to check the movie out. I think Zhang Ziyi’s dance sequence midway through the film might be worth the price of admission; it’s very cool. Gong Li does an excellent job as the trampy, drunk, and mean, Hatsumomo. Gong Li is awesome. The reviews for this film have been mixed. I though the film was alright; it’s not that good, and it’s not that bad. There are some great scenes, but overall the movie is nothing special.

The official Memoirs of a Geisha web site.



  1. the majority of the buzz I heard about this revolved around “they didn’t have Japanese accents” (since the leads were all varying shades of Chinese, with English as a second language at best).

    did that actually bother anyone? I noticed, because it was obvious, but it didn’t really affect it for me.

  2. My friends in Tokyo couldn’t stand it when the actresses would occasionally speak Japanese, since it was apparently horribly accented.

    As for the lack of “Japanese accents”, you are right, that is a pretty stupid complaint. If you want authenticity, complaints should revolve around the fact they aren’t speaking Japanese. It’s not like people in Japan go around speaking broken English to one another.

    I wasn’t bothered by anyones English in the film, with the exception of Zhang Ziyi. I found her delivery to be horrible, and it does detract from the movie. She does an amazing job in 2046, so if they wanted her in the film so badly, I would have preferred they let her speak Mandarin.

  3. I was surprised that she and Gong Li spoke English. I didn’t know either could.

    have you seen The Road Home? Highly recommended.

  4. Zhang Ziyi learned English for this film, if I am not mistaken. Gong Li has been in a few other western movies if I remember right.

    I haven’t seen The Road Home, but I want to.

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