ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – Memories of a Geisha (2005) Movie Review

Director: Rob Marshall

Writer: Robin Swicord (Screenplay) Arthur Golden (Book)

Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Mako, Li Gong, Tsai Chin

Plot: Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

Runtime: 2 Hours 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Memoirs of a Geisha starts when Chiyo and her sister get taken from their small fishing town and separated, Chiyo is raised in an Okiya working as a maid looking to escape, living under the Geisha of the Okiya, where Hatsumomo (Gong) the most popular in the town, takes an instant dislike to her.

With Chiyo continuing to try and escape, she loses her chance to become a Geisha, becoming just a maid, until she comes of age, Mameha (Yeoh) takes Sayuri (Zhang) under her wig to make her a geisha, in an attempt to gain control of the area, to help her get one over Hatsumomo. This will slowly show how Sayuri will become one of the most popular geishas in history, with her heart being drawn to the chairman (Watanabe).

Thoughts on Memoirs of a Geisha

Characters & Performances – Sayuri is taken from her small fishing family when she is young and thrown into the big city, with plans of either going to be raised as a geisha or fall into a life as a maid, she does get drawn out to be seen as something special with her beautiful eyes, which will help her tell the story of how she became the biggest most celebrated geisha in the land. Ziyi Zhang brings the beauty and innocent look to this role that will make her standout in any crowd. Chairman is the one person that shows true kindness to a younger Sayuri, he captured her heart, with his nature always being honest and good, he never wants to take advantage of the situations he could find himself in. Ken Watanabe was great in this role, being a character we didn’t see around in many scenes, filled with different mentality of men. Mameha does teach Sayuri about the world she is looking to enter, knowing she could help her in the long run, becoming a mother she never had. Michelle Yeoh brings the elegance to the world we are entering.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl that is taken from her family and thrown into the world of geishas, where she must look to adapt to survive, while learning on a daily basis of how this world works to become one of the most celebrated geisha in Japan. This story does bring us into the world which has changed through history, showing how the women would have the power over the men, showing us how one woman learnt to adapt to this world, where even if she has the power, she couldn’t have the love. This could show how history has changed with how women are treated, where the Japanese culture pushed for a different approach to make them more important.

ThemesMemoirs of a Geisha has beautiful settings, showing the geisha world, within the big city, using the costumes to make the character look even more glamourous.

Final Thoughts Memoirs of a Geisha is a visually beautiful story of one women reaching her power.

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