• PG-13, 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Drama, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Rob Marshall
    In Theaters:
    Dec 16, 2005 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 28, 2006
  • Sony Pictures

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Memoirs of a Geisha Reviews

Jay Weissberg
Variety
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February 23, 2012
David Ansen
Newsweek
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March 31, 2008

Time Out
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June 24, 2006
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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The subject remained interesting enough to this provincial American to accept and ultimately enjoy the film's well-worn romanticism, even with its resignedly tired happy ending.

January 18, 2006
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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Memoirs of a Geisha is everything you'd expect it to be: beautiful, mesmerizing, tasteful, Japanese. It's just not very hot.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 27, 2005
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Ultimately, Memoirs of a Geisha compares unfavorably with the book, though it offers pleasures of its own.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 27, 2005
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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... a fascinating glimpse at a lost world of women with skin of porcelain and spines of steel, and the men in their thrall.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

December 27, 2005
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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... the movie is a well-meaning, vaporous bore, enlivened only by occasional traces of Showgirls-style camp and plasticine tears trickling down impeccably powdered cheeks.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 1/4

December 27, 2005
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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It is a lush, blushingly romantic portrait of Asian culture as seen through a Western lens.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 27, 2005
Tom Long
Detroit News
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The performances are good, the visuals are lush, the span is epic, but the film simply never soars.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: C

December 27, 2005
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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... good-looking but not quite memorable ...

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 27, 2005
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Memoirs of a Geisha, the big-screen adaptation of Arthur Golden's best-selling novel, has a lesson to teach: Designing a movie isn't the same as directing one.

| Original Score: C+

December 27, 2005
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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This is a lavishly detailed memoir in which little turns out to be that memorable.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

December 27, 2005

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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December 24, 2005
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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For a while, you're waiting for Memoirs of a Geisha to start. Then you can't wait for it to end.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 22, 2005
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Shot for shot, Memoirs of a Geisha is one of the most beautiful movies in years, with due credit to Don Beebe's widescreen camera work, John Myhre's meticulous production design and Colleen Atwood's opulent costumes.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2005
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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Its commercial compromises cripple it as a movie.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 18, 2005
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Golden's straightforwardly involving prose, while no great shakes, has been replaced by an extremely fussy affair that is, in effect, its own silk-wrapped pictorial novelization.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

December 17, 2005
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Everything is beautiful -- even the squalor of poverty, the suffering of war. And nothing, ever, is revealed.

| Original Score: 2/4

December 17, 2005
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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Memoirs of a Geisha isn't just drop-dead beautiful, it's cinematically alive with a spirited way that makes most contrivances forgivable.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

December 17, 2005
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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You've always got something to look at -- whether its Sayuri's exquisitely painted face or the perfect twirl of a gorgeously flowered umbrella. But the storytelling is soap-opera banal.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: C

December 15, 2005
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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I object to the movie not on sociological grounds but because I suspect a real geisha house floated on currents deeper and more subtle than the broad melodrama on display here.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 15, 2005
David Denby
New Yorker
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There is spectacle enough in Marshall's movie -- rows of geisha trainees aligned in formation like Rockettes, acres of low, cedar-and-bamboo buildings with mountains in the distance -- but nothing that comes close to lyricism.

December 12, 2005
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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There's a lot of emotion and heart.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

December 12, 2005
David Edelstein
Slate
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It skips lightly over the surface of its rich material, more preoccupied with making pretty pictures than dipping below the surface so that you can experience the world through the eyes of its traumatized, yet increasingly savvy, heroine.

Full Review Source: Slate

December 9, 2005
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Memoirs of a Geisha is one long oxymoronic exercise in attempting to show delicacy through overkill.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 9, 2005
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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This is a movie for the ear and the eye, not the brain and the heart.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

December 9, 2005
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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With its gorgeous cinematography, costumes and production design, Geisha is a visual feast, but it lacks emotional heft and leaves the viewer strangely unsatisfied.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 9, 2005
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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It oozes importance, is heavy with worthiness and lies there, waiting to be appreciated for the beautiful thing it is.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

December 9, 2005
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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All three acts suffer from sluggish momentum and weak endings.

| Original Score: 2/4

December 9, 2005
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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In the luxuriant Memoirs of a Geisha, three of the biggest and loveliest stars of Chinese cinema -- Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li -- sharpen their talons.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

December 9, 2005
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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Slowness doesn't necessarily equal beauty or power or profundity.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 8, 2005
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
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Spanning two decades and a momentous war, Memoirs of a Geisha displays all the pomp and grandeur of an epic, but you wouldn't call it sweeping.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

December 8, 2005
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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Swathed in silk and longing (mostly for a bald guy called Oscar), the big-screen version of Memoirs of a Geisha arrives with good intentions firmly in place.

| Original Score: 2/5

December 8, 2005
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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What's wrong with Memoirs of a Geisha' isn't the casting; it's the film's languorous pace.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

December 8, 2005
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Director Rob Marshall Chicago is so transfixed by all the ritualistic hoo-ha that he never brings the story down to earth.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: C+

December 8, 2005
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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Arthur Golden's bestselling novel has been transfigured into an overripe romance that manages the not-so-cute trick of being both glitzy and ponderous while straining for delicacy and grandeur.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 1.5/4

December 8, 2005
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
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It's not a great movie, or even a particularly good one, but it's spectacular.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

December 8, 2005
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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Memoirs loses its taste for risk, and settles, throughout the movie's subsequent melodramatic turns, for the familiar blandishments of good looks and technical control.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C+

December 8, 2005
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Memoirs of a Geisha is worthwhile on many levels, although it lacks the depth of feeling that would have elevated it from a good movie to a romance for the ages.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

December 6, 2005
Dennis Lim
Village Voice
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A would-be cross between Showgirls and Raise the Red Lantern, too dumb to cause offense though falling short of the oblivious abandon that could have vaulted it into high camp.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 6, 2005
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Any doubts about three Chinese actresses speaking English with Japanese accents vanish in the face of their deeply felt performances and the world Marshall conjures with magical finesse.

| Original Score: 3/4

November 30, 2005
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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So much to see and hear, yet the magic of Memoirs of a Geisha is the human way it touches the heart. The cumulative effect is like being knocked unconscious by the wing of a butterfly.

November 29, 2005
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Arthur Golden's international best-seller has been moved to the bigscreen with beauty and tact in Memoirs of a Geisha.

Full Review Source: Variety

November 21, 2005
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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The filmmakers make characters crasser, ignore nuances within geisha tradition and give characters attitudes and dialogue highly unlikely for Depression-era Japan.

November 21, 2005
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