Though very pretty, Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) could use some visual and histrionic restraint (I don’t care for the acting here of Gong Li, Kaori Momoi and Youki Kudoh). But the film in toto, an adaptation of the Arthur Golden novel, is an interesting middlebrow treat set in the morally objectionable geisha world, a perverse system which is all a girl like Zhang Ziyi’s Sayouri knows and can benefit from. Unfortunately.
Marshall has better subject matter to work with than he did in the movie musical Chicago, and has directed extremely well. The candy colors come from cinematographer Dion Beebe. John Williams’s score is lustrous and not overripe. Unlike Chicago, in my view, the movie largely provides Hollywood fun, despite the corny conclusion.
Strongly political, progressive critics don’t like Memoirs of a Geisha. It’s a chronicle distinctly non-feminist, you see (not anti-feminist, just non- ).