Movie Madness Mondays!

“Memoirs of a Geisha”

Interested to see what you all have to say about this… I have not read the book, so I am only basing my thoughts on the movie.

To me this movie was, above all things, visually stunning. It was so beautifully shot, lit and painted that were I to mute the whole thing and watch the images, that would have been enough. So apart from all my thoughts on story, character, acting, ect., there were some interesting parts of female-ness that were explored. The truth of the story is both sad to me and a true reflection of our history as females.

Beauty, youth, and virginity (or alternatively aggressive sexuality) have been a valuable commodity for what seems like a large part of our history. In the old days I imagine it was the best thing for survival of our species, a freshly come-of-age girl at the beginning of her child-bearing years… Worth a lot. So what about now? I wonder if we continue in these same ways ( as well as with much more subtle methods), to link our worth to others?

It’s funny to me that women I know in their mid/late 30’s and 40’s consistently state that those are the best years of their lives so far. How happy they are to have moved through their teens and 20’s when their major commodity, primarily through their own perception, was their youth/sexual desirability. There seems to be a kind of internal shift for them, they seem to no longer view themselves through such narrow lenses, and allow themselves to blossom. Is it even possible for us to take this step earlier in our development, or is it simply a part of our passage as females?

So… that is what I was thinking while watching the movie. At times I think I am a bit random. What did you gals get out of the movie?? Excited to hear your thoughts!

NEXT WEEK: “JUNO“! We do like this movie a lot… Tabby will be in charge next Monday, so fun times are certain to follow!




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36 Responses to “Movie Madness Mondays!”

  1. alondris Says:


    I think the theme of the film is very good
    it is interesting to hear different opinions to one, I propose the movie “the last samuray”
    I think this film shows that the human value not force, if not spirit, values, integrity and respect is important to define the runbo the lives of each one of us.


    XAU XAU ^ ^

  2. superkurre Says:

    I read the book after I saw the movie and speaking about the movie, I loved it. It was beautifully shot and had good acting. The only thing that always gets me is that non-English speaking actors speak English. It sounds strange to me, but I know why it has to be done. The book was a little better, in my opinion. 🙂

    Kristin, I would agree with your friends who say that this is the better time of their life. I just turned 30 and sometimes when I look back at what I thought was important to me about me, I realize I really have changed. For better or not, I wouldn’t know. I feel better though.

    I don’t know if it is possible to shift that realization to an earlier stage of life, I guess we need it at that time to learn other things later. The other stage in “internal” development comes in another 20 years. I see it in my mother’s friends who are so balanced and in full bloom in their 50’s and 60’s. Besides, there is no norm to what stages of development we encounter at various stages in our lives. I always think I’m many years behind in mental development 😛 But I digress.

    I don’t know if that made any sense, it’s late and I’m watching Golden Girls from the corner of my eye. Just a final thought. I don’t think I would have found a kind of balance, and a peace of sorts, in myself if I hadn’t thought about myself differently when I was a teenager. You need a storm before the calm.

    Wow…. Deep. I’m much more clear when I’ve slept more. I actually like being 30. I was dreading it a few years ago, but now I love it. 🙂

  3. Gina Says:

    I’ll get back to you on that question once I’ve watched the movie lol. XD

    In the meantime, Juno is just awesome. I can’t wait to see it again!!

    Hmm, I can’t really tell if I’d had internal development yet.. How will I know?

  4. Denise Says:

    I thought the movie was good, you are right about the lighting, and images, it was beautiful to watch.

    Juno next week 🙂 cant wait. Its one of my favorites.

  5. Marie*Andree Says:

    you are totally right.. I thought that too, i mean we have to fight to be respected and we are important ,valuable and special that´s why I think we can be virgins and give that special gift to someone who diserbs it.
    Ps: JUNO!!! wwhoooo! LOVE THE MOVIE AMAZING!

  6. Ver0nik21 Says:

    I read the novel a few years ago, and when I heard they were making a movie out of it I was filled with both trepidation (The one of my favorite books might be destroyed on screen) and excitement. I’m glad to say all my doubts have been cast away.

    One of the most powerful scenes, I thought, was when Sayuri and Hatsumomo start the fire in the Okiya. At first we see Hatsumomo’s reaction – fear. But then she starts throwing the oil lanterns to the floor to feed the flames, and we see her face – you can feel that her world is ending. Pumpkin is no longer the heir to the Okiya, Mother has given her room to Sayuri. She is a destroyed women. Gong Li gives a phenomenal performance.
    I just loved the story and all the sets that provided a wonderful backdrop for such an emotional, powerful tale!

    About the question, don’t know I think it’s really part of our passage i guess, seems as we grow older some aspects in our lifes get clear, at least in the way our body works it seems we learn and understand more about it. Well just a thought…

    Great!! Juno!!! Already watched! just loved it!

    Have a great day! 😀


  7. Robby Says:

    My grandmother read the book, she said the book was amazing, so I think you’d be happy to read it Kristin 🙂 She was really looking forward to the movie when it was coming out and was happy with how it compared to the book.

  8. Someone Says:

    Beauty, youth, and virginity are not commodities. People are inclined towards beauty because it is natural, whether it is physical or it is moral. Youth is just a state of life that has its advantages. Virginity has been abused by some men throughout history in the sense that there are those who have egos in that they want to be the first to “de-flower” a woman. But, then there are others who see it as a sign of chastity, and thus are inclined towards women who maintain it until the time is right, despite external pressures not to do so. What I’m trying to say is that, like almost everything in history, people have over emphasized, or abused things at the expense of others. Like associating the worth of a women if she only is physically beautiful, or if she is young. One should be wary of making negative generalizations associated with things that are considered by most people as inherently good.

  9. Ilana Says:

    first some comments on the movie……
    Overall I would say this is a good movie. Yes the cinematography is fantastic. I think it won an academy award for best cinematography beating that year even Terrence Malick’s (Badlands, The Thin Red Line) beautifully photographed “The New World”.
    I don’t know if I would agree with you Kristin about watching it without sound though. I thought it had a killer score, really nice violin/cello.
    With regard to the actors, I am a big fan of both Gong Li and Ken Wantanabe (see him in “Letters from Iwo Jima”). Gong Li usually plays strong female characters and if anyone is interested in seeing more of her work, check out “Qiu Ju” and “Raise the red lantern”. Zhang Yimou directed her in a lot of his earlier films. She was his muse, and Ziyi Zhang has now become the younger replacement much like Sayuri overtakes Hatsumomo in the movie.

    “parts of femaleness explored”…….
    Yes, I think the movie raises some important issues concerning women and sexuality.
    First of all, what fascinated me was the Geisha’s sense that her profession was somehow inherently superior to that of a prostitute. Mameha says to Sayuri “we sell our skills, not our bodies.” But I think despite all that skill–extravagant dances and clothes, and even wit, it still boils down to female sexuality being used a commodity. It’s the same age old profession.
    Thankfully, since then, women’s situation in the world has improved (we can have other focuses in life besides beautification and marriage). Unfortunately, the idea of women as merely sex objects is still prevalent.
    Society asks us to view ourselves through a “youth/sexual desirability” perspective from an early age. But I don’t think that means we are trapped in it till we reach the 30’s/40’s. It’s up to us to define our own individual image and sense of purpose from the start.

    These thoughts are also kind of random, what came to my head. hope they made some sense.

    Kristin, Kendra, and Tabby:
    Great choice of movie, and good luck with developing/designing the upcoming website!

  10. Binks Says:

    Yep, yep. this movie is a keeper. It’s no surprise the cinematography is fantastic in this movie, the entire town seen in the film was built from scratch. It won Oscars for it, so did the costumes and the music was composed by John Williams (who is known for Star Wars, Jaws and Indiana Jones, among other amazing scores) although he did not win the Academy award for this specific movie for music.

    The film was fantastic. Sad, powerful, enlightening. I gives you a glimpse of the older days, where there was art in everything. Respect, honor, integrity of self (virginity falls here I suppose) and of the family. Values that are a bit…lost…or maybe just hidden now.

    Chiyo, the scared yet incredibly strong girl, turned into Sayuri, she grew and learned and blossomed into this amazing person and Geisha. (hehe eel in cave…hehe…) She dedicated herself to her role, to bring honor to her teacher and Okiya, to get closer to the Chairman. She was classy and articulate and graceful, she didn’t have to throw herself at men like Pumpkin did at the Army base or like Hatsumomo sometimes did, they came to her.

    I agree with Veronika, that burning scene was amazing and all the performances were incredible. 😀 I think Hatsumomo always thought Chiyo as competition, hence her cruel treatment of her.

    I think it was a transformation from a girl to a strong woman. A struggle with herself in her journey to becoming Geisha and her relationship with others intertwined with a love story.

    My aunt read the book, I didn’t, she said the movie was awesome but that the book was better (no surprise there 😛 always is)

    I suppose nowadays real guys want an equal. Before it was very acknowledged, now I guess they probably look for the beauty, youth and V-card subconsciously, old habits die hard. (haha except teen guys…:P) Times have changed since then, I don’t think they really care as much as before if women are virgins or not, as long as they are strong and smart and funny w/o being overbearing, but I guess some are intimidated by that, depends on the guy I suppose. *shrugs* I guess I don’t really know. =/ I think women can probably make the 30/40 internal shift earlier on, if you are mature enough or have that kind of mindset.

    Juno. haha Fun. Ellen Page is awesome although I think she did better in Hard Candy. *is biased* 😀

  11. Emma Says:

    @ Someone,
    I do see what you are trying to bring across, and I agree with you on many levels, but I think you may have slightly misinterpreted Kristin here.

    You see, I don’t agree that she has conveyed her own personal opinion regarding beauty, youth and virginity being commodities in this review; but rather she has emphasized that for large part of our history those 3 things have been ‘considered’ commodities in general, don’t you agree??

    Excellent review Kristin! I fully agree about the cinematography, the images, colours, make-up – I got so absorbed in them too! The acting is brilliant and for me the notion of how the Geishas had to carefully hide their true feelings and vulnerabilities for the men they actually were in love with was powerful, you felt so sad for them.
    I haven’t seen Juno, looking forward to it xxx

  12. Maxima Says:

    Hello “soon to be women” people!!!
    I have to agree with Kristin….the imagery of the film is beautiful, but to me it is not paired by the script….the book really moved me, but this movie adaptation did not.
    Also, slavery, anyway you slice it, it’s one of the
    worst and evil crime that comes out of the human mind.
    On a different note…..OOooooooooH(hi C), today is going to be a great day for everybody…….Why?……because I said so!

  13. lily liu Says:

    Kristin, I would highly recommend you to read the book. Although I enjoyed the movie very much I think the movie went far beyond just the rivalry of the females (the book explored that deeper too), into the special era of Japan. The book was very well written and it remains one of my favorite books of all time.

  14. Frida Says:

    I love Juno and Ellen Page totally rocks that role.
    I think we should watch BrokeBack Mountain. Not a lot of females but I just think we should, because that movie is so compelling and afterwards you can’t help but question yourself and really look at how we judge other people and why.

  15. Juliana Says:

    ooh, another movie! I’m very happy to see it. see you next week!
    kiss from brazil ♥

  16. Marilyne Says:

    Wow! what a great movie! I felt sad, angry, frustrated and even had tears in my eyes at the end 😛 I was stunned by the determination that girl had and kept for years. She finally reached her goal/dream! Really nice. She started at the bottom and finished more than successfull. Everything’s possible!:D

  17. LI Says:

    I’ve seen it so long ago…
    The book is just spectacular. Still i like the movie but i need to see it again.

  18. Ver0nik21 Says:

    @ Blinks

    So glad you liked taht scene too! It’s really awesome! what a great performance!

    Well and about the book, it’s really great!! But the moivie does justice!

    xoxoxo 😉

  19. Arelis Says:


    I had no idea John Williams’ wrote the score for this film! It’s ironic though, yesterday I was having lunch at a new sushi bar that opened near me and they had the soundtrack to this film playing in the background… it was the first thing I noticed when I walked in!

  20. Caroline Says:

    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I think that it is not only beautiful to watch, but a beautiful story as well. The Japanese culture is so wonderful and I love how they kind of make everything in life into art. They love to tell stories, but not the way we normally do by the campfire or during sleepovers.

  21. Gustavo Borges Says:

    Hi Kristin, how are you?
    I love you and your job, and I would say that I miss you so much in the Smallville and I want to see you soon on TV.
    You were beautiful with long hair and is even more beautiful with the new look. I love it your new haircut. You’re wonderful!
    I would very much like to talk to you through an e-mail or chat, only for a little chat, exchange some ideas, talk a little about life, know it better and gain a new friend. =)
    I am Brazilian, almost 22 years old and I think you are a very special person!
    Kisses from his big fan and admirer,
    Gustavo Borges

    PS: Please, answer me when it will be possible!
    PS 2: This site is amazing! Congratulations for all the girls!

  22. Gena Says:

    I think you should try to be a part of a movie like this one Kristin 🙂 It could be a way of showing (y)our thoughts concerning women through years, and centuries in the world!

  23. Karen Says:

    I have to agree with you that much of how people value us around our 20s is based on appearance. Of course there is more and some people do get to know the other sides of us but the fact remains that appearance is the first thing people see of us.
    It’s happened a lot that people say: you’re a lot different from what I thought when I first saw you.
    It’s strange how people often claim there is more to them than meets the eye and then judge/value/assess other people on just the superficialities (if that’s even a word…)

    As for the movie I think you hit exactly the tone I felt. The cinematography was just stunning, not to mention the music.

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and I have to say it’s been a pleasure ^^

  24. Blank Says:

    Its a decent flick, with nice performances by all the actors involved, but above all i guess this movie focuses more on visuals and photography, than argument. Love the Japanease culture, but i must say that the best Japanese story teller was Akira Kurosawa – A Cinematic Genious. **

  25. skahahoo Says:

    If you interpret “commodity” to mean anything that can be traded for your own benefit, then I do think beauty, youth, and virginity/sexuality are commodities. Similarly, I think money, power, and status are commodities. Maybe not in the same sense that oil and food are commodities, but commodities nonetheless because even today, these qualities are used as leverage in relationships.

    Also, while beauty, youth, and virginity can be considered “good” because they are advantageous to survival, I don’t think these things are INHERENTLY good, in the same way that some people consider God to be inherently good and the Devil to be inherently evil. There’s some research that shows that what we consider “beautiful” really just boils down to how symmetrical and balanced our faces are (like how far apart our eyes are, etc.). So if I had to guess, I’d say that our evolutionary ancestors prized beauty (or facial symmetry) and youth because having a mate with these qualities was more likely to lead to reproductive success. But then, as time passed and civilizations came and went, the notion of beauty and youth being good took on a whole load of other meanings and importance far beyond just survival, and it’s this extra baggage that a lot of people are struggling with today. But really, as with most things, I think beauty, youth, and virginity are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. The fact that many of us consider these things as good is, in my opinion, mainly the result of how we were socialized into our cultures.

    As for the “internal shift”…I’m 32, and I don’t regard my life now as better than before. I also don’t look at my teens and 20s with either longing or relief. To be honest, my quality of life now is worse because my job leaves me with hardly any free time to just chill out and do many of the things I used to do for fun. lol. *sigh* Anyway, I’m not particularly sad or happy about being in my 30s. I mean certainly, I’ve matured, but not in the sense that I used to think of myself in terms of youth and desirability and now I don’t. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of myself in this way. And because I’ve never thought this way, I’ve never been tempted to do things that I felt uncomfortable doing simply because it would make me more attractive or desirable. In fact, as amazing as this may seem, I somehow got through my teens and 20s without ever being pressured to smoke, do drugs, behave sexually, humiliate or bully people, or otherwise act in a way that was harmful to myself or others. And trust me…it’s not like I went to school with a bunch of saints. Things happened that happen in pretty much every school environment. But I just never got involved with that stuff, even if my friends did. I’m sure there are many factors that contributed to this, but if I had to point to one, I’d say it was the type of people I was surrounded by. For most of my life, I’ve been the youngest among my peers, so they have always taken it upon themselves to protect me in some way. They knew who I was, and they respected that, so they never pressured me. I know…I have some pretty friggin’ awesome friends huh? 🙂

    So yes, I do feel it’s possible to go though your teens and 20s without feeling so much of THAT kind of pressure that it starts to negatively impact your life. Because that’s what I’ve experienced. And while I do agree that negative experiences are valuable teachers, I also don’t feel that they’re absolutely necessary for growth. It’s like this guy who said that learning through experience isn’t always the best way to learn things. If it were, that would be like saying that the best way to learn to avoid alligator attacks is to actually survive an alligator attack. Instead, a better way would be to learn from the mistakes others made that prompted the alligator attack in the first place so that you don’t get attacked by one. You still learn the same lesson, without going through the trauma.

  26. *dacara* Says:

    I actually haven’t had the chance to watch this film but that was a nice review. I will have to put this movie on my “movies to watch list”:).

  27. jane Says:

    Memoirs of Geisha, i enjoyed that movie, it had so many themes: one is womanhood, which is the greatest theme of it. I have to watch it again, for i cannot recollect every scene. What stood out for me, was the scene where the central female character was a geisha in times when there was turmoil, poverty, chaos, and it showed how desperate she had become to acquire the basic necessities in life, whereas before, she had every thing she needed and more. It is a story of how a woman can be dependent on a man, but also, in a greater respect, on how a woman can be wise and choose wisely in life, to become self sufficient, independent, fulfilled and content in her womanhood, all by herself.

  28. Emma Says:

    @ Jane! Very true what you say about a woman’s path depending on her own choices!

    Wow- Your entry was quite thought provoking! I can personally identify with a lot of things you said.
    I am 28, but, I’ve had both the same and different experiences to yours as regards friends and events. I didn’t have such awesome friends in my teens and early 20s, but since I was about 25 I have made the most amazing friends who protect me, protect my personality and my morals and I never feel I have to compromise on those things anymore, so my self esteem has grown 10-fold, in part thanks to the people I surround myself with these days!
    It’s such a wonderful gift to have caring female friends and also to have self-belief so that you can recover from bad experiences and learn from them.

    KK, sorry if I’m steering off the topic of the movie here; I just felt I had to add to Skakahoo’s interesting comment!
    Have a lovely day ladies

  29. skahahoo Says:

    @ Emma – lol…Well, y’all are a thought-provoking crowd. 😀 Your experiences are so interesting to me since you’ve been through both kinds (thanks for sharing! :)). If you don’t mind my asking, when you were in your teens and early 20s, how much influence do you think your friends/peers had on you at the time, especially compared to the influence your family had, and the influence you had on yourself? This topic fascinates me to no end…the various forces that shape our behavior, especially during adolescence.

    This is a question for everyone…when Kristin asks whether we continue “to link our worth to others,” do you think she’s referring to romantic others or just others in general? If it’s just others in general, then I’m not sure it’s possible to be a social being and not link your worth to others, at least a little bit. I can only speak for myself, but at this stage in my life, I’m always wondering, “Am I improving my patients’ quality of life? Are my students learning anything of value from me? Am I honoring my parents? Am I being supportive enough of my friends and family?” All I know is, if my answer to all of these questions is “No,” then I’d feel pretty crappy about myself. I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Or neither. Hmmm.

  30. Delaney Says:

    I really liked the memores of the geisha. It was interesting in the matter of a girl becoming a women in China, and how they explored their sexuality and being sexual. It was great and the scenery was absolutely stunning.

  31. Emma Says:

    @Skakahoo – well, in my teens/early 20s, I was ALL about what my friends thought of me! Basically I was not compatible with the circle of friends I chose to socialise with back then. But I take full responsibility! I was never a crazy rebel, it was more a case of low self esteem. But it’s part of learning and living I guess. So it can’t be all bad right?! 🙂
    And the 2nd question..yes, I do agree with Kristin that we sometimes link our worth to others (especially us girls).. both in general and in romantic relationships! I suppose we can’t help it, (as you said) we are social beings. As long as we don’t let other people’s opinions of us cloud our opinions of ourselves; then maybe that’s the golden key. And it’s all in your own mind. In your mind you are free!

  32. skahahoo Says:

    @ Emma – lol…This is true…it can’t be all bad if you learn something. You know what that reminds me of? Have you ever watched that guy…I think his name is Bob…paint those nature scenes on public television? I forgot his last name. Anyway, he used to say, “There are no mistakes here, only happy accidents.” lol. That dude was so chill it was amazing. And he had this awesome fro. lol. 🙂

  33. Lorène Says:

    hello Kristin ,
    I agree with you when you say that “memoirs of a geisha” is totally beautiful. Zhang Ziyi is fantastic and very amazing.
    If I can advise a next movie , “Amelie”(“Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain ” in french) is very great and the music is fabulous 🙂
    good watching.

  34. Angela Says:

    Hello Kristin !
    I’m 17, I’m French, and I just want to say, you are really beautiful, really great. I love you, in Smallville you are very amazing !
    I hope to see you soon in French TV.
    And if it’s possible, please, answer me ! I just want thiiis !

    Kiss, a big fan.

  35. Sarah Says:

    i loved this movie, its been awhile since i have seen it, but i still think about it sometimes. it was just stunning, and so refreshing to experience a different culture! i know i cried at least three times during this movie:) haha

  36. dixie Says:

    the book is way better (as usual) but the movie rocks too!!

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