At first glance, I was a bit worried with the whole casting in this movie. A story about Japanese Geisha played by Chinese actresses? Count me in for those who had a self-doubt whether this movie is an exaggeration of Hollywood way of thinking about Geisha in general, or even Asian in majority. This movie is visually beautiful with breathtaking cinematography.
A young girl named Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo) is sold to a Geisha house in Kyoto. She has to endure an abusive treatment from the owners and the head Geisha, Hatsumomo (Gong Li). Even when she just a girl, her beauty is shown. She also have beautiful blue eyes, and attracts jealousy of Hatsumomo. One day Chiyo meets a gentleman, a chairman in the government (Ken Watanabe) and she falls in love. She decided to become a Geisha so she can be a beautiful woman to attract the Chairman. An independent Geisha named Mameha (Michelle Yeoh) is taking Chiyo under her wing and Chiyo becomes Sayuri (Zhang Ziyi), the most famous Geisha.
First of all, the visual cinematography is beautiful. Japan is depicted as this wonderful place, even in the very slum place. I've been in Japan, and it must be true. The mountains, the ocean, the sky, the sun, the flowers, the street, the river are truly genuinely stunning. I hardly mention cinematography in my reviews, but this is one of the movies that I actually paid attention to details in the environment. If you think Howl's Moving Castle has beautiful scenery, this movie has a real beautiful scenery. The casts are also done a great job potraying their characters; especially Suzuka Ohgo as young Sayuri. She's only 12 years old, and yet she's given the most sincere performance in this movie. You will feel sympathy and feels like you just want to adopt her. But the most delicious performance is from Gong Li as Geisha Hatsumomo. Man, she's the bitch. Really, a truly truly wonderful bitch. She's so hot and she delivers her performance so well and powerful, I felt like I wanted to grab her and give her a catfight. Her acting gave me goosebumps, and in my personal opinion she should get an Oscar nomination.
Now, Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh... I dunno... they are the main actresses in this movie... But even though they deliver a believable Geisha and Japanese woman, I don't exactly feel any emotion towards them. They're acting are good, but it was drown by other amazing perfomers. I hate how they depicted Geisha in this movie as a common prostitute, which is not supposed to be like that. One thing I really hate about this movie is how long, and somewhere along the way I almost dozed off...it's a bit too long, they shoulda cut something instead giving us chapter per chapter. I counted there are almost five acts or chapters in this movie. And that's too damn long, my ass fell asleep. And the whole movie is in brokenIngrish. When the Americans came, and there's cameo from Ted Levine as an American General, I was a bit surprised because I thought now we are looking at him as a foreigner and a stranger. For a movie that dominated by Asian actors, this is a major step for Hollywood. I wish they would consider to make more of this kind of movie from other part of Asia.
Due to my hectic schedule, I will not be able to review all new movies every week. I apologize. I will however review some older movies from DVDs from time to time. Thank you for understanding.
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