The Pillow Book

Watch The Pillow Book

  • NR
  • 1996
  • 2 hr 6 min
  • 6.5  (13,540)
  • 64

The Pillow Book, released in 1996, is a British-Dutch-French film directed by Peter Greenaway. The movie stars Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, and Yoshi Oida in lead roles. The film follows a young woman named Nagiko who is obsessed with calligraphy and her desire to be covered in beautiful writing. Nagiko's story is woven together with that of an English translator named Jerome, who becomes her lover and helps her achieve her dream.

The film is based on Sei Shonagon's book, "The Pillow Book," a classic work of Japanese literature. The book was written by a court lady during the Heian period and details her romantic and daily experiences in Japan's imperial court. The movie draws inspiration from the book's themes and structure, but changes the setting to modern-day Japan.

The Pillow Book is an erotic and visually stunning movie that explores themes of love, desire, and the power of the written word. The movie is known for its use of calligraphy and body art, with Nagiko's body becoming a canvas for various forms of writing. There are also several scenes of sexual content that are integral to the story's exploration of the connection between sex and calligraphy.

The main character, Nagiko, is portrayed by Vivian Wu, who delivers a powerful and emotionally charged performance. Nagiko is a complex character who is driven by her desire for beauty and her need to connect with other people. She is a strong-willed woman who is not afraid to push the boundaries of societal norms to achieve her goals.

Ewan McGregor plays the character of Jerome, an English translator who is hired by Nagiko's father to translate his erotic memoirs. Jerome is a charming and charismatic man who is immediately drawn to Nagiko's beauty and her obsession with calligraphy. Their relationship is complicated by their cultural differences and the fact that Jerome is already in a committed relationship with his girlfriend, Helen.

Yoshi Oida plays the role of Nagiko's father, a cold and distant man who is obsessed with his own writing. This character provides an interesting contrast to Nagiko's warmth and emotional depth, highlighting the generational gap between the two characters.

The film's cinematography is breathtaking, with the use of vivid colors and stunning visuals to create a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere. The camera work is also quite unique, with multiple split screens and innovative editing techniques used throughout the movie.

Overall, The Pillow Book is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that explores themes of love, desire, and the power of the written word. The movie has garnered critical acclaim for its unique approach to storytelling and its use of art and eroticism to tell a complex and thought-provoking story.

The Pillow Book is a 1996 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 64.

The Pillow Book
Where to Watch The Pillow Book
The Pillow Book is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Pillow Book for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 6 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (13,540)
  • Metascore