The Pillow Book

Critics Consensus

The Pillow Book is undeniably sensual and visually ravishing, but the film's narrative lacks the hypnotic pull of its imagery.

67%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,215

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The Pillow Book Photos

Movie Info

A Japanese model (Vivian Wu) who likes lovers to adorn her body with calligraphy falls for an erotic Englishman (Ewan McGregor).

Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for The Pillow Book

Critic Reviews for The Pillow Book

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (18)

  • One of the most accomplished chapters in Peter Greenaway's quest to turn movies into books, this may be the writer-director's metaphorical autobiography.

    May 2, 2016 | Full Review…
  • In The Pillow Book, text and texture meet so exquisitely. Sex is a visual art, Greenaway says, and writing is a matter of life and death.

    May 2, 2016 | Full Review…
  • It is exciting that in an age of mass book signings and disrespect for literature, Greenaway is able to sexualize the author's signature as it sweeps up a woman's neck.

    May 2, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Pillow Book is an experiment in the potential of film. It rejects convention and asks the viewer to forget traditions and entrenched assumptions. Those willing to go along will be hypnotized.

    May 2, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Greenaway is a dedicated aesthete and sensualist who creates his own little worlds of cruelty, delight and artistic trickery. With tremendous brio and skill, he cuts his patterns into our minds, tickling our skins with his brush.

    May 2, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • I can, with many reservations, recommend The Pillow Book for graphic artists and, of course, for Star Wars completists. People who simply can't get enough nudity might also want to take a look.

    May 2, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Pillow Book

  • May 26, 2011
    A beautiful woman is obsessed with inking characters on human flesh, making herself and her lovers into living books. Gorgeous and sensual, with layered images and pictures framed inside of other pictures. Greenaway's painterly picture is a loving tribute both to calligraphy and to the nude human form, and the movie would be a classic if only there was a story attached to the sumptuous images.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 01, 2008
    Greenaway uses groundbreaking effects to showcase his influence in mathematics,fine arts,puzzles,juxtapositions and erotic flavor,thus making a visually titillating film,introspective and with boiling lavishness.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 22, 2008
    Well it was different that's for sure.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Apr 17, 2008
    Everytime i try to get into this film i encounter a solid wall that won't let me pass. Vivian Wu should be in more movies, naked if possible.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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