I would venture to say that because I did not read the book, I enjoyed the movie more than I would if I had read the book.
I did not like the lack of explanation of why Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo) was sold by her father. The only thing that comes to mind is that they needed money to eat. For most of the beginning, I was a little confused. Li Gong as Hatsumomo, the established geisha was a cruel and petty antagonist. I was warmed to see Tsai Chin as Auntie, whom I recognized from The Joy Luck Club. Michelle Yeoh as Mameha was beautifully portrayed. Zyi Zhang as Sayuri gave and excellent performance as well. The hottie award has to go to Ken Watanabe as Chairman.
This story was very fairy tale-like, which also appealed to me. I loved the scenes were Sayuri danced. Awesome! Interesting look into the secret life of geisha, but more importantly a love story.