Memoirs of a Geisha Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Golden's straightforwardly involving prose, while no great shakes, has been replaced by an extremely fussy affair that is, in effect, its own silk-wrapped pictorial novelization.
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.
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.
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.