The Pillow Book
The Pillow Book (1997)

Peter Greenaway directed this elliptical and visually intricate tale of the far side of erotic and intellectual attraction. As a girl, Nagiko would receive a special gift each year from her father: a calligrapher (Ken Ogata) who would… More

Directed By:
Rated: NC-17
Running Time:
Release Date: December 15, 1998
Add Your Rating
Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
User Score

Available Online

Critic Score: 67% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
David Stratton

At first daunting but ultimately awesomely impressive and beautiful.

Full review…
Desson Thomson
Washington Post

Greenaway, whose mind is one of the most impressive, complicated organs that ever sat on the shoulders of a filmmaker, seems to be playing connect the dots to himself, almost dumbing himself down to be commercial.

Full review…
Cole Smithey


Derek Adams
Time Out

A very intimate, sensual film, and a torrid, lurid melodrama, full of passion, jealousy, hatred and revenge.

Full review…
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times

Despite its arresting visual style, its wave after wave of creative and hypnotic images, "The Pillow Book," as its name hints, slowly but inexorably leads to sleep.

Full review…
Michael Dequina

Never less than mesmerizing, even when you're not exactly sure what exactly Greenaway is trying to say.

Full review…
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

A seductive and elegant story that combines a millennium of Japanese art and fetishes with the story of a neurotic modern woman who tells a lover: "Treat me like the pages of a book."

Full review…
Janet Maslin
New York Times

''The Pillow Book'' finds the filmmaker at his most atypically seductive, creating a spellbinding web of cruel elegance and intricate gamesmanship, exploring the exotic, haunting beauty of the bizarre.

Full review…
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Both exhilarating and exhausting, The Pillow Book is undeniably bold, sometimes beautiful, filmmaking.

Full review…
More reviews for The Pillow Book

Flixster Audience Score: 81% Flixster User Reviews
Greg S
A beautiful woman is obsessed with inking characters on human flesh, making herself and her lovers into living books. Gorgeous and sensual, with layered images… More
xGary Xx
Greenaway is definitely an acquired taste; he IS painfully affected and pretentious, but his sumptuous visuals can more than make up for it, and this is… More
jay nixon
Well it was different that's for sure.
Megan S
This movie was pretty weird and slow at times, but it was beautiful and was very artistically shot. There was always a lot going on visually (pictures within… More
Tsubaki Sanjuro
Everytime i try to get into this film i encounter a solid wall that won't let me pass. Vivian Wu should be in more movies, naked if possible.
Dimitris Springer
Greenaway uses groundbreaking effects to showcase his influence in mathematics,fine arts,puzzles,juxtapositions and erotic flavor,thus making a visually… More