Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Director:

Rob Marshall

Writers:

Robin Swicord (screenplay), Arthur Golden (book)
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Popularity
1,231 ( 742)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 29 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Suzuka Ohgo ... Chiyo
Togo Igawa ... Tanaka
Mako ... Sakamoto
Samantha Futerman ... Satsu
Elizabeth Sung ... Sakamoto's Wife
Thomas Ikeda Thomas Ikeda ... Mr. Bekku
Gong Li ... Hatsumomo
Tsai Chin ... Auntie
Kaori Momoi ... Mother
Zoe Weizenbaum ... Young Pumpkin
David Okihiro David Okihiro ... Shamisen Teacher
Miyako Tachibana Miyako Tachibana ... Dance Teacher
Kotoko Kawamura Kotoko Kawamura ... Granny
Karl Yune ... Koichi
Eugenia Yuan ... Korin
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Storyline

In the 1920s, 9-year-old Chiyo gets sold to a geisha house. There, she is forced into servitude, receiving nothing in return until the house's ruling hierarchy determines if she is of high enough quality to service the clientele -- men who visit and pay for conversation, dance and song. After rigorous years of training, Chiyo becomes Sayuri, a geisha of incredible beauty and influence. Life is good for Sayuri, but World War II is about to disrupt the peace. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

My world is as forbidden as it is fragile; without its mysteries, it cannot survive. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature subject matter and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Colleen Atwood, the costume designer, 250 hand-tailored kimonos were made for the film. She also said that their prints, patterns and colors are bigger and bolder than traditional kimonos. See more »

Goofs

When Hatsumomo opens her door to yell at Chiyo and Pumpkin for talking, her kimono is folded the wrong way. A kimono's right side is always folded underneath the left side. See more »

Quotes

Narrator (Old Sayuri): The winter I turned fifteen I saw the chairman again, but that wasn't the only surprise fate brought me that season. Along with the snow came a most unexpected visitor.
Mother: Why is she here? Chiyo, Chiyo, open the gate!
[motioning for her to open the door and straigtening herself before going to her table]
Mameha: Now that your beloved granny has gone you have no need for a maid.
Mother: I would never question the great Mameha, but you could choose anyone in the Hanamachi.
Mameha: You flatter me, truly.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

No studio logos are shown at the beginning. They however appear shortened after the end credits and are accompanied by the film's score. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Munich: Editing, Sound and Music (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Tosa No Sunayama
Traditional
Performed by Rinshoue Kida
Courtesy of King Record Co. Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Rivalries
10 December 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Arthur Golden's novel "Memoirs of a Geisha" deserved a better fate. This immensely satisfying book got a tepid adaptation by Robin Swicord and Doug Wright, and it begs for a better screen play than what was chosen to be shown on the screen. Director Bob Marshall's next venture after his successful and popular "Chicago" seemed, at least on paper, like the right candidate to be in command of the film version of the book, but what he has created seems to have become an oriental soap opera, at best.

The story is narrated in the first person by Sayuri who has been sold by their impoverished father. The novel is a chronicle of how Sayuri learns to become a geisha and her rivalry with the queen of them all, Hatsumomo. Also it is about the relationship between Suyuri and the Chairman. Hatsumomo's competition is the beautiful Mameha, who takes Suyuri under her wing and shows her the ropes. The Chairman and Nobu are the men in and out of this story who change Suyuri's life for the best.

The casting of Ziyi Zhang as Suyuri doesn't pay off. Ms. Zhang is a beautiful creature to look at, but in this film, her acting appears to be empty, in sharp contrast with her appearance in "2046". Gong Li, another beautiful woman, appears in all her fury to challenge her position as the queen that she has always been when Sayuri comes on her own. She is a caricature of the character that she is trying to portray, no doubt guided by the director, in a performance that seems campy in its flavor. Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe and Koji Yakusho do what they can in a film where the center of attraction are Ms. Zhang and Ms. Li.

The basic flaw of the film is the dialogue that feels so foreign it might have been written in another language. The different accents of the cast doesn't help matters because they speak in a sort of British English that is a distraction. The wonderful costumes are by Colleen Atwood who dresses the women in silks and makes them look fantastic. The cinematography of Dion Beebe is an asset too. The haunting musical score is by John Williams, a man who knows how to enhance a film with the right sounds.

"Memoirs of a Geisha" under the direction of Rob Marshall is a spectacle directed to fans of the book, who will surely flock to see the film, but alas, they will not find the essence of Mr. Golden's novel in the finished product.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | Japan | France

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

23 December 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Memoirs of a Geisha See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$682,504, 11 December 2005

Gross USA:

$57,490,508

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$162,242,962
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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