* AwesomeMusic: Creator/StevenSpielberg was aiming to direct the movie; [[Film/{{Chicago}} Rob Marshall]] ultimately did so, but Spielberg remained on board as one of the producers - and his regular composer JohnWilliams rose to the occasion.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Many people find Hatsumomo the best thing in TheMovie.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Pumpkin's revenge against Sayuri is meant to be a major KickTheDog, but as she points out to Sayuri, Sayuri took Pumpkin's life goal of becoming officially adopted by the okiya and becoming one of the most successful geisha in Gion, and she ''didn't really even want that''; it was all just "a stepping stone" to get to the Chairman. Under those circumstances, it's easy to feel like Pumpkin's revenge was justified, even if Sayuri hadn't ''meant'' to ruin Pumpkin's life.%%* UnfortunateImplications: ''Several.'' Let's just say that Arthur Golden didn't do much research on several fronts [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement and leave it at that.]]
** A common criticism of the film is that Chinese actresses are used in a movie that portrays a facet of traditional Japanese life, thereby implying that the two races are interchangeable to Hollywood. As a rebuttal to this, it's been pointed out that Zhang Ziyi had already been in Japanese roles long before the film, and in Asian cinema, no less.
** Though [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement it's best not to go into detail with the book's flaws]], Mineko Iwasaki's biggest beef with the novel was that Golden spent more time discussing sex than he did about a geiko's true role (preserving art and culture). In her autobiography, however, she does acknowledge that the ''mizuage'' existed, but existed within the realm of ''oiran'' (high-class prostitutes) and not with legitimate geiko life.
* TheWoobie: Pumpkin. Not as ''pretty'' as Sayuri, not as ''talented'' as Sayuri, not as ''smart'' as Sayuri, not as ''lucky'' as Sayuri, and browbeaten by her [[NoHeroToHisValet supposed mentor]] Hatsumomo into the bargain. Oh, and Sayuri is unwittingly responsible for Pumpkin's downfall.
** Chiyo, at least until Mameha decides to take her on.