Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Three experiences make an indelible impression in a young girl's childhood: her father's tender calligraphy on her face and neck, the text of a noblewoman's sensual diary (or pillow book), and the discovery that her father is being blackmailed. These three images become a single obsession when the girl becomes a woman (Vivian Wu of The Joy Luck Club) and meets a man (Trainspotting's Ewan McGregor) who offers his body to her, both as a blank page to write upon and as a weapon of revenge. (Columbia TriStar) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Wu is a fine, supple tabula rasa; McGregor (Trainspotting) shows again that he is one of the boldest, most charming young actors.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The Pillow Book is Peter Greenaway's most stunning and accessible film since "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover." Dense, gorgeous and inexorable - once you give yourself over to its logic - it's a boldly erotic explosion of Asian chic, taken to places no film has gone before. [20 Jun 1997]
  3. 88
    The Pillow Book, starring Vivian Wu, is a seductive and elegant story.
  4. 63
    With its attractive cast, beguiling score and relatively straightforward narrative, this dark fable of letters and lust is one of Greenaway's most accessible works.
  5. Reviewed by: Tim Appelo
    Greenaway's latest, The Pillow Book, might disappoint purists because it is relatively intelligible. [27 Jun 1997]
  6. At 126 minutes the movie is excruciatingly long, but it is still too short to pack in all the subtle changes in character he means but fails miserably to convey.
  7. 10
    The Pillow Book's pretentions are boundless, for all its desperate fashion and layered imagery, it's a staggering bore-as vacantly petulant as Kate Moss's stare. [10 Jun 1997]

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of