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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Mysterious, Fragile World

Memoirs of a Geisha on IMDb

Plot Overview

roosterBorn in 1921, year of the rooster, nine-year-old Chiyo along with her older sister, Satsu, lives a hard­scrabble life in a ramshackle shanty in the poor fishing village of Yoroido, Japan.shark Their desperate father releases the day's catch to the sea in hopes of an intervention for his bedridden wife … then he sells his daughters to a broker as well. The older sister goes to a “pleasure district” while Chiyo goes to an Okiya (geisha house) in Miyako. Her country ways do not endear her to the ladies there, so she becomes their house­maid rather than being enrolled in geisha school. Bummer!

prayingA chance kindness from a stranger inspires her to pray to become a geisha. As she narrates, “I changed from a girl facing nothing but emptiness, to some­one with purpose. I saw that to be a geisha could be a stepping stone to some­thing else.” She applies her­self to that end. When she's 15 a geisha of note Mameha (Michelle Yeoh) takes a personal interest in her and mentors her in the ways of geishahood. She becomes a maiko, an apprentice geisha, gets renamed Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) and finally makes her debut as the real thing. Then the after­math of WWII crashes the ball and all bets are off.


Her curious little story is noteworthy along the lines of, (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:”

(Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” The first nugget of wisdom is to start working young, in the summer of life. The opening shots are silhouettes of toil by the sea­side. When at age nine Chiyo enters the Okiya, her feet are salt-encrusted and her hands fish-smelling. She continues her toil scrubbing floors, drawing water and fetching stuff.

(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” The second piece of wisdom is location. She wouldn't get any­where living in a fishing village or in a house of ill repute. She needed to be in the geisha house to expand her horizons.

(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Next she needed an informal support network. That she got from her volunteer mentress with her contacts.

(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” Finally she had to seize opportunity to make her niche in the world. The palace doesn't construct little spider houses. That spider has to use her (eight) hands to make her own. The post-war occupation provided all kinds of opportunity—women were even emancipated. She just had to take advantage.

Production Values

” (2005) was directed by Rob Marshall. Its screenplay was written by Robin Swicord based on the novel, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. It stars Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe and Michelle Yeoh. Suzuka Ohgo did a top job playing Chiyo as a child. The three principal actresses Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, and Gong Li carried the film quite well. They displayed both beauty and talent.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for mature subject matter and some sexual content. The cinema­tog­raphy, art direction and costume design were remarkable. The dialogue in English struck me as foreign sounding. It had a runtime of 2 hours 25 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The narrator tells us, “these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.” The fairy tale ending for the former is the princess marrying the prince and living happily ever after. But says the narrator, a “geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of night­fall.” This memoir is more applicable to someone in constricted circumstances. A couple queers may now call their domestic partner­ship “marriage,” but that doesn't grant them social acceptance equal to that of heteros. An Orthodox Jewess may have divorced her hubby, but unless the bum gives her a document called a get (pronounced gat) she is not free to marry some­one else; she'll be one of the agunot (chained wives.) This story while providing a degree of resolution hasn't got the happiest ending ever seen on screen. But neither does life always grant that. It may strike a chord with some.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Predictable. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.