Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star in W. Somerset Maugham's exotic,tragic love story The Painted Veil.1920s Shanghai. Newlywed Englishcouple Walter and Kitty Fane (Academy Award nominees Norton--TheIllusionist, American History X and Watts--21 Grams, Mulholland Drive)have traveled to China to find purpose in their lives. Instead, thediscover betrayal and estrangement. Given a chance at redemption, thecouple embark on a perilous journey of self discovery deep into theheart of the Middle Kingdom.Directed by John Curran (We Don't Live HereAnymore) with a Golden Globe-winning original score by AlexandreDesplat.]]>
The Painted Veil
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Top Customer Reviews
This film is not to everyone's taste, but I found it extraordinary. This kind of film typically attracts those who like films like The English Patient (which I hated) and The Horse Whisperer (which I loved). This is a period piece that doesn't need its period to be relevant. This is a location film that doesn't need its location to be believable. This is a slow-moving story that doesn't need action to be engrossing. This is a masterpiece that doesn't need improvement.
The story is both simple and multi-layered. Naomi Watts, totally unrecognizable from her The Ring and King Kong films, is basically a spoiled brat who would prefer to live off her father's money than to buy into the trappings of marriage (as she sees it). In a moment of spiteful rage against her mother, she intentionally marries a "civil servant" (one viewed beneath her), extremely well-played by Edward (American History X) Norton who equally disappears into his role as a shy man who is rather infatuated with Watts but respectful of the fact she doesn't love him, but hopes she will one day over time.Read more ›
Kitty (Watts) is getting older. Living in 1920's London, her parents have more to say with impunity about her suitors. Quick to pursue her, Walter Fane (Norton) pushes himself for courtship against her wishes, but the timing leaves her no choice but wedlock. Interrupted in their social life, they become a foursome with Charlie Townsend (Liev Schreiber) and his wife. Charlie, a virile alternative to her drab, doctor husband, tempts her into adultery. In such an arrangement, women didn't have the freedoms they do now. So when Walter is assigned to treat a cholera epidemic in Shanghai, he's privy to her affair and can blackmail her to come along or face the scorn of divorce. Since her lover is a playboy who abhors attachment anyway, she again has no choice.
Life in China at first offers nothing more than disease and disenchantment. Bored with her life and keeping in seclusion to avoid cholera, her husband spreads nothing but flinty resentment toward her unfaithful presence. Besides a stunning landscape, she discovers a convent where a wise, old mother superior charms her heart and inspires her to do at first repellant work with the orphans. Besides the dangers of disease, the locals are slow to warm up to any foreigner's presence, even one that may offer a solution to their health crisis.
More moving than its beautiful cinematography, Norton's and Watt's splendid performances work well with a captivating story of lust and love, betrayal and forgiveness, and selfishness turned to self-giving.Read more ›
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
"The Painted Veil" is old school, not just because it is based on W. Somerset Maugham's 1925 novel, but also because this 2006 movie has sensibilities more akin to the Hollywood of the 1930s (when the movie was first filmed with Greta Garbo and Herbert Marshall), than of today. There was a story in the news this week about a controversial and racy billboard in Chicago that proclaimed "Life's short. Get a divorce." The billboard was taken down after a week, over the objections of the two divorce attorneys who put it up, but there is no denying that divorces have become a lot more popular since Maugham's day (the high water marked was 1980 in the U.S. when the divorce rate topped out at 41%). I bring this up because "The Painted Veil" is about two people who do not get divorced, and not because they are staying together for the sake of the children, because there are not any children. It is a love story, but one of the most unromantic ones that I have ever seen, which is, rather surprisingly, not a bad thing.
Kitty Garstin (Naomi Watts) is the daughter of an unambitious solicitor whose inflated idea of herself has seen her reject all possible suitors. But when her younger sister marries and her mother (Maggie Steed) asks pointedly how long she intends to live off of her father, the confluence of events compels her to accept the marriage proposal of Walter Fane (Edward Norton), a young bacteriologist who is heading off to China.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This exceptional film adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel of the same title deserves more credit than the box office paid it a decade ago. Read morePublished 10 days ago by David A. Baer
This is my all-time favorite movie. Now, after watching it, I devide all people I know into two categories - those who are able to understand and appreciate it and those who are... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Rita
I really thought I'd enjoy this film a lot more than I did. The cinematography was lovely with beautiful settings, decent acting and writing. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are supported by a wonderful cast including Toby Jones and Diana Rigg. Read morePublished 15 days ago by ahwt
Classic! One of my all time favorites. I'll watch anything with Edward Norton. Whatever happened to him, anyway? Loved the use of Erik Satie's music in the film. Read morePublished 25 days ago by B. A. Scott
Great story about transformation. Highly recommend it. Beautiful scenes of China.Published 27 days ago by M. C. Young