Monday, January 02, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha (**1/2)

Memoirs of a Geisha is a beautifully shot, often engaging Cinderella-type tale, but it's emotionally inert and, above all things, fake. The filmmakers do such a great job with the production design and making us feel like we're in old Japan, but then the characters speak. In English. There is no reason why they would other than the fact that this is a Hollywood movie. It just renders the whole thing unbelievable. Plus, I found the story a little creepy. Ken Watanabe plays a kindly older gentleman who befriends a young girl, and then arranges for her to become a Geisha so he can get it on with her when she's older. How romantic. I never read Arthur Golden's book, which the film is based on, so I can't really compare the two, but the film, though pretty to look at, is just another one of those Oscar-baiting epics that Hollywood studios have been spending too much money on for years.


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