The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil
In 1925, Kitty (Naomi Watts) is an upper class socialite closing in on an age at which it would simply be unacceptable not to be married. She accepts a proposal from a bacteriologist, Dr. Walter Fane (Edward Norton), and the pair move to Shanghai. In this colonial society, Kitty is introduced to English Vice Counsul Charles Townsend (Liev Schreiber), and begins an adulterous affair with him.

When Walter finds out about this, he decides to accept a job in a remote Chinese village ravaged by the Cholera epidemic, and takes Kitty with him as vengeange. Here, however, both spouses find a new purpose, and find themselves rediscovering each other in true romantic fashion.
Winner of Golden Globe for best original score 2007
2008Rating: M, Sexual References125 minsUSA, ChinaMandarin / English / French
DramaRomance

Reviews & comments

beautiful

Subtle, melacholic, this is a movie that breathes through you, beatifully shot capturing a human and geographic landscape of morbid hope.

5.0

enjoyable enough

Watts can act, Norton can't. Maybe miscast. Lovely stuff from Diana Rigg - good on her fearless ageing. Great cinematography from NZ's own Stuart Dryhberg, and gorgeous atmospheric landscapes that you want to linger on. Maughans story is a cut above the predictable scripts. so all in all, a nice sunday afternoon film for an escape from a rainy day.

4.0

Enjoyable watch

I sat back and let myself be swept away by this sweeping romance with sweeping scenic shots. Norton and Watts good, cinematography great. Essentially a woman's story.

3.0

Just lovely

I really enjoyed this film. Beautifully filmed. Moving but not too soppy. Miles better than the average Hollywood romance.

5.0

Review

Great movie.

4.0

Average

Just a nice movie with great scenery and no happy ending

3.0

the synopsis above undersells.

This movie has enough drama, romance and tension to hold attention.

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Even the ultra-capable Norton and Watts aren't fully able to galvanize viewer interest in their narrowly self-absorbed characters.

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

An inveterate stealer and masticator of scenes, Mr. Norton is very fine here, especially early on, before his billing gets the better of the story and he begins riding around heroically on horseback.

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

I can't praise too highly the cinematography by New Zealander Stuart Dryburgh, whose interiors, shot in a Beijing studio, are as beautifully lit as the paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby.

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

The Painted Veil has the power and intimacy of a timeless love story. By all means, let it sweep you away.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Norton, an American, and Australian Watts are so busy struggling with their accents that they never really find their characters' hearts. But it's a solid piece of period escapism.

3.0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

Has all the elements in place to be a great epic, but it fails to connect, to paraphrase Maugham's contemporary E.M. Forster, the prose with the passion. It's impeccable, but leaves you cold.

BBC

BBC

press

Yes, it lags at times, but overall this is a satisfyingly slow-burning romance, beautifully scored and acted.

3.0
Variety

Variety

press

Even the ultra-capable Norton and Watts aren't fully able to galvanize viewer interest in their narrowly self-absorbed characters.

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

An inveterate stealer and masticator of scenes, Mr. Norton is very fine here, especially early on, before his billing gets the better of the story and he begins riding around heroically on horseback.

The Guardian

The Guardian

press

I can't praise too highly the cinematography by New Zealander Stuart Dryburgh, whose interiors, shot in a Beijing studio, are as beautifully lit as the paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby.

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

The Painted Veil has the power and intimacy of a timeless love story. By all means, let it sweep you away.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Norton, an American, and Australian Watts are so busy struggling with their accents that they never really find their characters' hearts. But it's a solid piece of period escapism.

3.0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

Has all the elements in place to be a great epic, but it fails to connect, to paraphrase Maugham's contemporary E.M. Forster, the prose with the passion. It's impeccable, but leaves you cold.

BBC

BBC

press

Yes, it lags at times, but overall this is a satisfyingly slow-burning romance, beautifully scored and acted.

3.0

beautiful

Subtle, melacholic, this is a movie that breathes through you, beatifully shot capturing a human and geographic landscape of morbid hope.

5.0

enjoyable enough

Watts can act, Norton can't. Maybe miscast. Lovely stuff from Diana Rigg - good on her fearless ageing. Great cinematography from NZ's own Stuart Dryhberg, and gorgeous atmospheric landscapes that you want to linger on. Maughans story is a cut above the predictable scripts. so all in all, a nice sunday afternoon film for an escape from a rainy day.

4.0

Enjoyable watch

I sat back and let myself be swept away by this sweeping romance with sweeping scenic shots. Norton and Watts good, cinematography great. Essentially a woman's story.

3.0

Just lovely

I really enjoyed this film. Beautifully filmed. Moving but not too soppy. Miles better than the average Hollywood romance.

5.0

Review

Great movie.

4.0

Average

Just a nice movie with great scenery and no happy ending

3.0

the synopsis above undersells.

This movie has enough drama, romance and tension to hold attention.

4.0