Memoirs of a Geisha | Chicago Reader

Memoirs of a Geisha

“Cinderella” with kimonos. Directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago), this lavish adaptation of the wildly popular Arthur Golden novel tries to capture the mystique and glamour of Japanese geisha, but it's hampered by a banal script. A servant girl (Zhang Ziyi) mentored by an older woman (Michelle Yeoh) rises to become a celebrated geisha in the 1930s, though a jealous rival (Gong Li) threatens her chances with a courtly benefactor (Ken Watanabe). The international Asian stars gamely tackle their English-language roles, aided by superior costumes, makeup, and set design. But despite all the hothouse intrigue, the film lacks passion. PG-13, 144 min.

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