I saw the movie tonight. My advice to you is: skip the movie; read the book.
It wasn’t bad really. It was better than mediocre, but it wasn’t truly great. The scenery was beautiful, as were the actors. And in truth, I did enjoy it – for the most part. But, they naturally had to make some changes to shorten the story.
It was those changes that distracted me the most. At one point, I actually said, “well that never happened,” louder than I expected. The nice ladies sitting next to me agreed; some things simply were not consistent with the novel. There was no fire in the okiya, Sayuri never seduced an American, and the ending wasn’t nearly so bittersweet.
This serves as a reminder that movies “based upon the book” never live up to one’s imagination.