Memoirs of a Geisha - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Memoirs of a Geisha Reviews

Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
January 18, 2006
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.
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
December 27, 2005
Memoirs of a Geisha is everything you'd expect it to be: beautiful, mesmerizing, tasteful, Japanese. It's just not very hot.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 27, 2005
Ultimately, Memoirs of a Geisha compares unfavorably with the book, though it offers pleasures of its own.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 27, 2005
... 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 | Original Score: 3/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 27, 2005
... 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.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
December 27, 2005
It is a lush, blushingly romantic portrait of Asian culture as seen through a Western lens.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
December 27, 2005
The performances are good, the visuals are lush, the span is epic, but the film simply never soars.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 27, 2005
... good-looking but not quite memorable ...
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
December 27, 2005
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+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 27, 2005
This is a lavishly detailed memoir in which little turns out to be that memorable.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
December 22, 2005
For a while, you're waiting for Memoirs of a Geisha to start. Then you can't wait for it to end.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 22, 2005
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 18, 2005
Its commercial compromises cripple it as a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 17, 2005
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 17, 2005
Everything is beautiful -- even the squalor of poverty, the suffering of war. And nothing, ever, is revealed.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 17, 2005
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 | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 15, 2005
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.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 15, 2005
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
December 12, 2005
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.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 12, 2005
There's a lot of emotion and heart.
Top Critic
December 9, 2005
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.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 9, 2005
This is a movie for the ear and the eye, not the brain and the heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 9, 2005
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 9, 2005
It oozes importance, is heavy with worthiness and lies there, waiting to be appreciated for the beautiful thing it is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
December 9, 2005
All three acts suffer from sluggish momentum and weak endings.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
December 9, 2005
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 8, 2005
Slowness doesn't necessarily equal beauty or power or profundity.
Top Critic
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
December 8, 2005
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 8, 2005
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
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
December 8, 2005
What's wrong with Memoirs of a Geisha' isn't the casting; it's the film's languorous pace.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 8, 2005
Director Rob Marshall Chicago is so transfixed by all the ritualistic hoo-ha that he never brings the story down to earth.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
December 8, 2005
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.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
December 8, 2005
It's not a great movie, or even a particularly good one, but it's spectacular.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 8, 2005
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 | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 6, 2005
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dennis Lim
Village Voice
December 6, 2005
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.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 30, 2005
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
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
November 29, 2005
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.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
November 21, 2005
Arthur Golden's international best-seller has been moved to the bigscreen with beauty and tact in Memoirs of a Geisha.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 21, 2005
The filmmakers make characters crasser, ignore nuances within geisha tradition and give characters attitudes and dialogue highly unlikely for Depression-era Japan.