Memoirs of a Geisha
A Japanese girl (played by Suzuka Ohgo as a child and Ziyi Zhang as an adult) is sold into bondage in a geisha household. As she grows older and more beautiful, she trains as a geisha herself, becoming both a pawn and a player in a struggle between two rivals (Michelle Yeoh, stately and gracious, and Gong Li, sly and catty). Robin Swicord’s supple screenplay (from Arthur Golden’s novel) has echoes of Gone with the Wind and fairy-tale overtones of both Cinderella and Snow White. These familiar traces give the movie universal underpinnings that anchor us as we drift in the often mysterious geisha culture. Director Rob Marshall weaves a heady, sensuous spell, telling his epic story in bold yet graceful terms without ever descending to melodrama—proving that his debut with Chicago was no fluke.