Culture Crash
Memoirs of a Geisha
Review Review by Ross Anthony

Beautifully filmed, although, occasionally the match of image to word is a tad heavy handed. Ziyi Zhang of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is radiant, as real as the script allows. Her mid-film dance scene leaves the theatre resonating with the production's most dazzling and intense moment. She's perfect for the role, save for one small detail -- she's not Japanese. A tough casting decision that robs the film of some precious authenticity already a mite in question since it's based on a book written by an American male.

These hindrances can be overlooked -- and no doubt will be, by those who enjoy the film more than I. Besides a dismal visual mood, we witness innocence dashed and thwarted, and beaten far too many times for my tastes. And when justice finds film time, the scenes feel contrived and soapy.

Perhaps it's just because I'm a guy, but I found the best written relationship was between Chairman and Nobu. Both of these Japanese actors (Watanabe & Yakusho) deserve kudos for giving that friendship weight with very little screen time. That said, In my defense as a male reviewer ... I really enjoyed Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Director Rob Marshal (who also directed Chicago) said, "I had decided to tell Sayuri's story as an impression of time and place." Part of that telling was to cast Ziyi Zhang both as a 15 year-old and a 30 year-old. Unfortuantely, from this reviewer's seat, even the make-up of a Geisha doesn't make a 15-year passing of time apparent in her face.


  • Memoirs of a Geisha. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Koji Yakusho, Gong Li, Youki Kudoh, Kaori Momo, Tsai Chin, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Randall Duk Kim.
  • Directed by Rob Marshall.
  • Screenplay by Robin Swicord. Based on the novel by Arthur Golden.
  • Produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick, Steven Spielberg at Columbia/DreamWorks/Spyglass/Amblin/Red Wagon.

Grade..........................C+ (1/4)

Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:24 PDT