Critic Reviews



Based on 38 critic reviews provided by
The Hollywood Reporter
Here is a film about Japan made by Americans, shot mostly in the U.S. and, of course, in English. Once you accept these compromises in the name of international filmmaking, none is a real deterrent to enjoying this lush period film.
From a filmmaking point of view, this is a work that the old Hollywood moguls themselves would have been proud to present.
Rolling Stone
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.
There's no doubting that Memoirs of a Geisha is a lush motion picture, and it has much to recommend it, but this will not go down as one of the great screen romances of the 2000s.
It's not a great movie, or even a particularly good one, but it's spectacular. No expense has been spared. The technical crew reads like a roll call of Oscar-night regulars.
The A.V. Club
The film comes to life whenever the cartoonishly vindictive Gong throws a tantrum, but she played virtually the same role in Zhang Yimou's "Shanghai Triad," which presented a far more compelling rationale for her star fits. Without her, this expensive piece of backlot pageantry turns vivid history into an ossified tchotchke.
Entertainment Weekly
Not since "Snow Falling on Cedars" have I seen so pedigreed a lit-pic sit there like such an inert teapot, available only to be admired for its mysterious, ineffable Asian teapotness.
Beautiful geishas flit and whoosh through the equally beautiful scenery. Their kimonos are artworks-in-motion. So why is the film so boring? It could be because director Rob Marshall is so transfixed by all the ritualistic hoo-ha that he never brings the story down to earth.
Mr. Marshall can't rescue the film from its embarrassing screenplay or its awkward Chinese-Japanese-Hollywood culture klatch, but Memoirs of a Geisha is one of those bad Hollywood films that by virtue of their production values nonetheless afford a few dividends, in this case, fabulous clothes and three eminently watchable female leads.
Village Voice
Swaddled in the posh vulgarity that passes for awards-season elegance, Memoirs is deluxe orientalist kitsch, 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.

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