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Leonie (2010)

Emily Mortimer , Christina Hendricks , Hisako Matsui  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Emily Mortimer, Christina Hendricks, Shidō Nakamura, Mary Kay Place
  • Directors: Hisako Matsui
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2013
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,541 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


This is an exquisite movie about a courageous, determined woman. A wonderful story. --Jeffrey Lyons/LYONS DEN RADIO

Emily Mortimer stuns in her most radiant performance yet as Leonie in this exquisite portrait of a truly unconventional woman --Nicki Richesin, The Huffington Post

Nothing short of magnificent! --Amy R. Handler, Film Threat

Product Description

n the lush tradition of the glorious films of Merchant and Ivory, comes the true life story of Leonie Gilmour (Emily Mortimer), whose life crossed continents, wars and cultures, embodied with courage and passion in search of art and freedom. A tender and inspiring story of a remarkable woman who nurtures the amazing artistic talent of her son who has only one way to succeed and one person to guide him, as he grows into the world renown artist, Isamu Noguchi.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3 1/2 stars

Director Hisako Matsui films this movie mostly in English, but in a very Japanese style that many Westerners will find difficult to interpret or enjoy. (explained below)
This movie uses the life of Leonie Gilmour and her son Isamu Noguchi, the famous sculptor, as a backdrop to convey social issues including women's rights during the early 1900's. It is poetic in both dialog and cinematography at moments. However, it may be a little dry for many viewers.

THE PLOT: Leonie is a bright, educated, American woman who agrees to become editor, and ultimately lover, to the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi. She bears his child (Isamu) out of wedlock and follows him to Japan. One can imagine the resulting complications for a smart woman of pre-suffrage United States. The recounting of Leonie's time in Japan serves to amplify those professional, social and romantic conflicts as she deals with the cultural shock of life for women in Japan (an even more patriarchal society). Leonie comes to the realization that she will only be his mistress as Yone already has a wife. He tells her "this is the culture of Japan and there is nothing you can do about it". To her credit, Leonie takes her son and forges her own path while encouraging his strengths, spending years more in Japan. This movie expounds on that line of finding one's true self as Isamu grows to college age. He secures a benefactor and applies himself to becoming a doctor in America to show gratitude (despite the fact he is clearly an artist by nature). When Leonie finds out Isamu's course of study as a doctor, she attempts to set him straight.

The backdrop of post industrialized Japan is also very interesting. The references are fleeting, but the movie opens near the start of the Russo-Japanese War.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars really enjoyed this movie June 13, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Leonie - The true story of Leonie Gilmour, set in the 1900's. Leonie is a educated American woman who agrees to become editor, and in time - lover, to the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi - I have to wonder how famous he would have been without her interjections. She bears his child (Isamu) and follows him to Japan only to find he already has a wife and sets her up as his mistress. She leaves him securing jobs teaching English. Once on her own she again gives birth and never reveals who the birth father is.
It's also interesting because the film has a Japanese director, it's filmed in Japan and yet it seems truly to mock Japanese sexism. Yone is definitley the villian, sexist, violent and selfish, I believe she fell in love with him because of his creativity and his constant pursuit of her.
Very good movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
It would be impossible to include every twist and turn of the lives of Leonie Gilmour and Yone Noguchi so the makers of this film chose to focus on Leonie and they made the correct choice. She was a woman very much ahead of her time -- a student at the very young Bryn Mawr College, intelligent, aggressive, not afraid to embrace life regardless of what it brought her way. Emily Mortimer is a very convincing Leonie -- she captures the spirit of a very definitely spirited woman. The supporting actors are all fine in their roles too. The film was obviously made on a tight budget but that constraint doesn't harm the picture -- it contributes to making it the intimate film that it is. Yone Noguchi -- the father of Leonie's son, the sculptor, artist, set designer, etc. Isamu Noguchi -- was a complex man -- a poet from Japan who gained fame in the US with the help of Leonie who edited his work. A man who was engaged to one woman, impregnated another, while also having relationships with male acquaintances and who ultimately fathered nine children with the Japanese woman that he married. Isamu Noguchi like his mother also was a free-spirited who traveled the world in pursuit of his art. Ultimately this is the story of three very gifted people -- a mother, father and son who lived an unconventional life -- at times together, but mostly apart -- and yet all achieved what can only be called remarkable lives. The final scenes of the film are quite touching and beautiful in keeping with the spirit of the people involved who pursued art and beauty in their daily lives.
I defy anyone to see the film and not come away wanting to know more about all three of these people.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Woman Who Makes Her Own Destiny June 20, 2013
100 years later, one can easily forget how difficult it was for a women to forge her own path through the obstacles of every societal norm. Indeed Leonie Gilmore was not only ahead of her time, but even our time.

Leonie Gilmore - an educated female at the turn of the century - was not an idealogue, as let's say Emma Goldman. She was not trying to convert anyone to a particular point of view but instead trying to live her life - totally independently of the social values or patriarchal constraints of both the American and the Japanese world.

The two leads Emily Mortimer (as Leonie Gilmore) and Shidu Nakamura (as Yone Nagachi) are exceptional in their roles as two loves mismatched in their views. He is a poet of Japanese birth who is still tied to the customs of his world and believes that women should walk behind the man and even consent to being a mere mistress of someone important. She is a fiercely intelligent woman who walks behind nobody. However the child actors in the film are very weak characters, and I had to reduce my rating from 5 stars to 4 stars for that deficiency in the movie. The color cinematography is glorious, with an Asian flair for color and texture.

Like the Japanese tea ceremony, this film has many "moments" that made me reflect on important societal issues. Leonie's mother is entirely self-sufficient in California on a farm, rooted to the earth, but fails to appreciate the importance of a father/male influence for her grandson. Leonie gets pregnant from another man, after moving to Japan, but refuses to tell her husband who the father is. Leonie recognizes the artistic gifts of her son, and urges him to follow that path, even when he thinks that medical school is the better choice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I love this movie, and wanted more. I didn't want it to end.
Published 2 days ago by lauren mccrea
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of courage and survival - Inspirational stuff
Long before the Feminist movement you had women who fight through male prejudice to do what they set out to do. Read more
Published 27 days ago by kwsy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 29 days ago by Suze
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very good
Published 1 month ago by Pamela Kearney
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Dragged Did not
Did not finish
Published 1 month ago by Max Smith
Published 2 months ago by Mary Hockett Thoma
3.0 out of 5 stars This gave great insight into Isamu Noguchi's Art
No question this film shows the unusual life and parenting of a future great artist in Isamu Noguchi. Read more
Published 2 months ago by kybrdplyr
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross-cultural Journies and Pitfalls
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The acting and directing were top-notch. Compared to American movies, the acting and pacing were slower, but that is part of the beauty of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Stark
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
The best part of this movie is the look at the Japanese culture. Some see courage in Leonie's fervent search for independence; I just see her making a lot of bad decisions.
Published 3 months ago by Robert Carr
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
Poor acting combined with disjointed boring plot. Total fail. I want my money back. Worst movie I have seen in some time.
Published 5 months ago by Douglas Pinto
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