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Memoirs of a Geisha | 2005 | PG-13 | - 5.5.3

In the years before World War II, two Japanese girls are sold by their poor father when he can no longer feed them. They are separated, and one is forced to become the slave to a Geisha as punishment for ingratitude. After a chance meeting with a wealthy businessman, the young girl vows that she will train to become a Geisha, and indeed she becomes beautiful and accomplished, captivating the powerful men of her day. With Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh and Youki Kudoh. Directed by Rob Marshall. [2:17]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A man unties a young woman's dress, he kisses her neck, she struggles to get away from him as he continues to untie the layers of her clothing until he leaves her nude (we see her bare back), and she falls to the floor quivering and crying.
 A young woman lies on a mattress, and a man unties her robes and lies next to her (it is suggested that they have sex).
 A woman unties her robe, pulls a man down on top of her, he kisses her neck, and they are interrupted when another man sees them.
 Men bathe in a pool of water (we see their bare shoulders and chests), women join them (we see their bare shoulders and backs), and one man corners a woman and makes sexual advances toward her (she tells him no and moves away). A woman bathes and her bare back to the hip is visible. A woman wears a loosely tied robe that reveals lace undergarments underneath. During a sumo wrestling match, the combatants wear small thong-like gear that reveals bare chests, abdomens and bare buttocks.
 A doctor trembles (he seems to be drooling) when he examines a cut on a young woman's upper thigh, and he dabs it with ointment. A man touches a woman's face, they kiss, she trembles and they hug.
 A woman walks in a street, and glances at a man, who then admires her as she passes. Men watch a woman dance and admire her.
 Two women discuss a woman's ability to "stop a man in his tracks with just one look." A woman discusses the art of allure and that she reveals a "trace of naked skin." A woman talks about selling her skills, not her body.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man yells at a woman, slams down a glass breaking it and cutting his hand (we see a shard of glass in his hand and blood on the wound). A girl cuts her leg with a sharp knife (we see the blood wound when a doctor examines it.
 A girl is punished by being caned on her back. A girl is hit across the back by a woman with a cane in a few scenes (the girl whimpers and cries with each stroke). A man shoves a girl to the floor by pushing her by the face. A woman grabs a young woman by the hair and threatens her.
 A man unties a young woman's dress, he kisses her neck, she struggles to get away from him as he continues to untie the layers of her clothing until he leaves her nude (we see her bare back), and she falls to the floor quivering and crying.
 Two women fight viciously, a lamp is tipped over, a fire starts, and one of them holds a pointed object toward the other while one of them tries to put out the flames and the other breaks more lamps, spreading the fire (everyone is eventually OK).
 A girl tries to escape from a house, she climbs along a roof, she slips and catches onto the gutter, and then falls to the ground (we see her later with bruises on her face and a bandage on her chin). A woman throws things and yells during a tantrum.
 At the start of a war, armed soldiers enter a village, and they take women and children away on trucks.
 A woman combs a hot liquid into a young woman's hair, and she cringes in pain. During a sumo wrestling match one wrestler is thrown out of the ring and lands on the floor.
 A man wakes up his two children, they tremble and are led away by another man, they are then put into a cart and ride away from their home in the dark. Two children are separated, they scream and cry and struggle to try to get to each other.
 We hear that "sleeping will be painful" (we see a pedestal being set up upon which a young woman will rest her head to sleep). A woman is abusive to a girl in every scene in which they are together. A young woman walks along a street, and glances at a young man on a bike who then crashes into a food cart and falls to the ground.
 We hear that a girl's parents have died. We hear about a war and the destruction war brings about. We hear that a man committed suicide after losing his fortune. We hear that a girl has run away and is never heard from again. A man talks about another man saving his life from an explosion during a war.
 A girl finds food on the ground, she picks it up and eats it. A man has a badly scarred face from an injury sustained in war.


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LANGUAGE 3 - 8 sexual references, 1 mild obscenity.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A woman drinks whiskey from a bottle and acts intoxicated, and a woman drinks sake and smokes cigarettes in a bar scene. People (primarily men) are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in several scenes, and many soldiers smoke and drink alcohol. A woman smokes a cigarette in many scenes, a man smokes a cigarette in many scenes, and a man smokes a pipe.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Geisha houses vs. flesh peddlers, Geishas, prostitution, honor, poverty, jealousy, celebrity, desire, competition, slavery, separation from family, death of a parent or parents, rape, sentimentality, worthlessness, virginity, selling virginity to the highest bidder, turning over a new leaf, unspoken love.

MESSAGE - Victory does not always belong to the powerful.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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