|Teen Movie Critic - IV is a Dream Machine Site|
The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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Sayuri (Zhang) lives in the small fishing village of Yoriodo. Her mother falls deeply ill and her father becomes incapable of raising Sayuri or her sister. A rich man from a neighboring village adopts them both and sells them into a form of slavery and are taken to different geisha houses in Kyoto. Sayuri quickly finds out that that wasn't the worst part. Hatsumomo (Li) will stop at nothing from stalling her progress as an upcoming geisha. Romance weaves itself into this mess when Sayuri finds the man of her dreams while running and errand in the Theater District. There are plenty of plot twists through the story. Normally, this would keep you in suspense, but the story moves so fast that you never get any breaks between one scene and the next. At least they tried to fit everything from the book into one package.
At times it is like watching bad karaoke. The actors/actresses speak English so poorly that you end up feeling sorry for them. It would have been much better with subtitles, but alas, mass appeal wins again. To the film's credit the sets and costumes are amazing. Vibrant colors are everywhere and your imagination takes you to a place where cherry blossoms are in bloom all year. My largest complaint was the fact that everything is so rushed. I felt like I was taking a crash course of Japanese history and in the end it left everyone confused. Thankfully, I read the book. It isn't impossible to enjoy this movie, but I recommend reading the book first or otherwise there will be a lot of head-scratching.