The Painted Veil (2006) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A British medical doctor fights a cholera epidemic in a small Chinese village, while being trapped at home in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful wife. Runtime: 125 mins Release Date: 20 Dec 2006
My girlfriend and I went to a free movie screening - you know, the kind they pass out flyers for. In our case, it was an offer from a survey website.I can't say enough about how much we loved this film. The cinematography was absolutely stunning. The story was compelling and heart-wrenching and masterfully portrayed by both Ed Norton and Naomi Watts.I was a little leery at first when I realized that Ed Norton was going to have to use an English accent throughout the film. But to my untrained ear, it sounded very authentic and did not detract from the film at all.My friend and I have been <more>
looking out for The Painted Veil ever since we saw it. Meanwhile, it's already almost November and we haven't heard anything about its release.We both strongly recommend that you see this movie when it comes out. You won't be disappointed. By the way, there were some men in the audience and they also thought it was excellent, so it's not necessarily a chick flick."
I think is the tone of the film and by that I mean everything from the cinematography to the dialogue the music and, most of all, the nuanced performances which, because it is so consistent and so consistently sublime renders the film far apart from the ordinary. I was interested to see that Naomi Watts and Edward Norton produced this film. No matter which of them or, for that matter, any one of the film's fine cast is on the screen, we are fully involved: they invite us into their story, they invite us to care. Even if one were to strip away the performances and the story <more>
there is still the sheer beauty of the Chinese countryside, filmed to perfection.Just go, and see for yourself.
Naomi Watts is every bit as good as Garbo was in the 1934 version, and Ed Norton is outstanding. Great supporting cast as well - Diana Rigg is almost unrecognizable as a Mother Superior, and Liev Schreiber is, as always, terrific as a slimy lowlife. Based on one of Somerset Maugham's best stories, this is a movie that will satisfy anyone looking for an old-fashioned, romantic drama about love lost and love earned. The social quandary of British women after the first World War, which created a generation of unwilling spinsters, is taken as seriously by the filmmakers as the emergence of a <more>
new China standing up to its Colonial oppressors. Watts' character's journey from spoiled, selfish Daddy's girl in 1920's fun-loving London to a mature woman in a deprived, cholera-infested third-world country is harrowing.
Exquisitely Layered, Haunting, and Clever Period Romance (by WriterDave)
John Curran's nearly pitch perfect film adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's "The Painted Veil" begins slowly and patiently, with leisurely flashbacks that elliptically bring us to a singularly absurd predicament: circa 1925, a British doctor Edward Norton in his second romantic lead following "The Illusionist" has brought his lovely young wife an entrancing Naomi Watts into the middle of a Chinese cholera epidemic purely out of spite. It's a wickedly clever little set-up that becomes increasingly more complex and absorbing.The note-perfect and delicately <more>
layered performances of Watts and Norton, two thespians typically acclaimed for their edgy and independent work and playing against type, are anchored with the literary genius of Maugham and Curran's keen eye and steady hand behind the camera. It's all perfectly accentuated by the brilliantly subversive music score by Alexandre Desplat doing his best work since "Birth" . These cleverly designed elements coalesce deliciously into a fully fleshed-out whole, and allow "The Painted Veil" to grow in your mind organically and slowly slip under your skin like an infectious disease.Ron Nyswaner does a great job of translating Maugham's writing to the screen. Virtually nothing is lost. That keen British wit, the dramatic sense of irony, and the sincere exploration of many heady themes including loveless marriages, adultery, imperialism, charity, religion, and redemption are all captured beautifully by director Curran and screenwriter Nyswaner. Watts and Norton are given plenty to chew on, not only great lines, but great scenes full of lush scenery, and beautiful and textured visual details that serve as perfect backdrops for their complex and unpredictable relationship.Back in the heyday of Merchant-Ivory, it seemed like this type of literary minded period-piece was a dime a dozen. There hasn't been a hugely successful film of this type since 1996's "The English Patient." We haven't seen a worthwhile film in this genre since Neil Jordon's underrated "The End of the Affair" in 1999, which not coincidentally was an adaptation of one of the great novels from Maugham's fellow Brit and contemporary, Graham Greene, and addressed many of the same themes.What "The Painted Veil" lacks in epic sweep it makes up for in scores with its nuanced performances and subversive outlook on romance and true love. Its finely landscaped images of China are transfixing, but it's the look on Norton's face when he realizes the woman his wife has become, and the glimmer of a tear forming in Watts' eye when she realizes what she's done that will haunt you.
A complex, moody film that draws you in on many levels and does not let go (by tomasganz)
Set in China in the 1920s during a cholera epidemic and the nationalist uprising, the film explores the stormy relationship of a dry British doctor and his seemingly incompatible fun-loving wife. They interact with engaging characters that include French nuns, British expatriates and a Chinese doctor and military officer. The tension is increased by the ever-present threat of death from the epidemic and the political and military unrest that is about to explode. The film is shot with a hazy green look that makes the lush Chinese countryside even more mysterious and beautiful. The film is <more>
accompanied by well-chosen music with a particularly gripping main theme by Satie. Norton and Watts do a splendid job in the leading roles.
If there is one actor who is underrated by just about everyone who attends the movie theatre, it's Edward Norton. You can make a case for a number of minor actors that have attempted to "break out" into an acting career, and you could probably make a very good case that they are underrated. However, Edward Norton is an incredible actor and is the most under-recognized and the most under appreciated big-name actor.In the Painted Veil, Edward Norton does not disappoint. The man has an incredible chemistry with Naomi Watts, and delivers a stunning performance. He has different <more>
transition periods and in each one he subtly changes his posture, and movement and his tones in his voice in a way that nobody seems to appreciate any more. After seeing the variety of roles that the man takes, this role seems to be sort of boring, almost below his talent; yet he makes the role of a biologist come alive in a performance that no one else could deliver.This man is the white version of the incredible Denzel Washington.Listen, Tom Hanks might be good, but Norton is Phenomenal.Before going to see this movie, PLEASE see Fight Club or the 25th Hour, or Primal Fear, or ANYTHING else the man has done. If you haven't seen American History X then see that one as well. This cat is so versatile and for you to appreciate this movie as much as I did a contrast point is quite helpful.His chemistry with Naomi was impeccable as well. Ms. Watts delivered another stunning performance in her role and the dialogue and the silence between them, the building tension, etc is crazy to watch.One final note on this movie: the Gold Globe the Soundtrack took home is well deserved.Painted Veil is a sleeper film of 2006. Phenomenal.
Greetings again from the darkness. This is a surprisingly wonderful adaptation of the W Somerset Maugham novel. Maugham passed away many years ago, but in his time was an incredibly famous and popular playwright and novelist. His best known work is probably "The Razor's Edge". Part of the surprise is the beauty of the film since it is directed by John Curran, who has no directing credits to his name since 1995's excellent "Babe, the pig". Curran's eye and talent are on full display here with the aesthetics of 1920's China and the devastation of cholera.The <more>
story is simple, but oh so elegant. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts are a very odd couple whom circumstances bring to an ill-conceived marriage. They are quite the odd couple and not the least bit charming together, even in the good moments. Norton stumbles on an affair between Watts and Liev Schreiber and the next thing we know Norton and Watts are on a two week journey into the depths of a Chinese jungle where a devastating cholera epidemic is occurring. The horrible situation brings out the best in each as people and finally as a couple. Along the way, their lives are impacted by two rather odd acquaintances, Toby Jones off his fine turn as Truman Capote and the long lost Diana Rigg as the Mother Superior at the local orphanage.The story is tight, interesting and believable ... all signs of a terrific writer. The acting is worthy of such fine material and direction. Mr. Norton is wonderful as the quietly simmering bacteriologist who lacks interpersonal skills and warmth until the tragic environment brings about self-discovery. Ms. Watts continues her amazing run of top-caliber performances and is one of our top 3 actresses today. She is so subtle at times that it is easy to take her skills for granted. Mr. Schreiber, Mr. Jones and Ms. Rigg are all excellent in their roles and lets hope that Ms. Rigg will continue to bless us with her screen magic. It has been 40 years since she was the sexy Emma Peel from "The Avengers", but her presence on the screen is very welcome and needed.There is a haunting score that continues throughout the film and some tremendous piano work credited to Lang Lang. The mood of the music and the film setting work together to deliver the effect of reading the novel as we watch the film. Quite a knockout for director Curran, who hopefully will not now disappear for the next decade!
Understated Tenison Adds Just Enough Of An Edge To This Classy Melodrama (by ccthemovieman-1)
If you haven't watched this movie, it helps to be aware that it is a slow-moving story. Don't expect of action or adventure and you won't be disappointed. Although set mostly in an exotic locale under revolutionary-type conditions, it is a bit of an adventure story but it is mostly a subtle romance. It's a story of a couple who married despite one not loving the other but learning to as time goes by. Normally, that wouldn't particularly appeal to me, especially with a female that is cold and sarcastic as Naomi Watts' "Kitty Fane", but this film had an odd <more>
appeal. It has a tension running through it for the first three-quarters of the film, that makes you want to keep watching and find out what happens.It doesn't hurt that it's beautifully filmed and that always-entertaining Edward Norton plays the male lead, Kitty's husband "Walter." Norton is one of the few modern-day American actors who could surprise us with a British accent and make it sound natural, forgetting quickly that he's faking an accent. He's that subtle.Shanghai is an interesting place, I'm sure, especially during the period of the unrest in the 1920s, which is pictured in this Somerset Maugham story, but this still is a very low-key romance movie in which the wife slowly learns to love and respect her husband and he, meanwhile, learns even more slowly, to forgive her for her sins, which include adultery. The tension between the two is well-played, not overly melodramatic.Of the minor characters, Toby Jones as "Waddington" was most intriguing. It took me awhile to figure out if he was friend or foe, a trustworthy friend or not.If you are patient and enjoy good visuals and acting, you probably will like this film.
Finely-observed colonial-era drama (by Chris_Docker)
When I was nearly eighteen, I married. To the prettiest girl at art college. Lack of confidence vanished with virginity. I loved her with unbearable, blinding intensity. We painted each other with unquenchable desire. What could go wrong?Our film's title goes back to a stanza:"Lift not the painted veil which those who liveCall Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,And it but mimic all we would believe"Shelley's poem furnishes the title of Somerset Maugham's oriental love story. That classic, set in the 1920s, has three times been made a film. Our latest offering <more>
comes like five-year incense from Sinophile Edward Norton, with screenwriter Ron Nyswaner Philadelphia and producer Sara Colleton.Two people, whose characters are a million miles apart, wed in London. They travel to Hong Kong. Suddenly they can no longer play the game that society has set them. Facing their own true natures is a journey of discovery greater than geographical distance. Visually and emotionally restrained given the passions and breath-taking scenery involved the Painted Veil shines with intellectual integrity. If only you can get excited enough about it.Brilliant bacteriologist Walter Fane Edward Norton only occasionally gives way to anything as unscientific as showing feelings. Kitty Naomi Watts is warm and natural, but marries Walter more because it seems like a sensible thing to do than for any over-riding love. She enjoys tennis and nice things. Walter derides such superficialities. And Walter speaks only when he "has something to say." Kitty has an affair with government official Charlie Townsend, a charming and seductive married man who "made a science of popularity." Walter correctly labels her as stupid to think he wouldn't find out. Their trip to a cholera-infested village of Mei-tan-fu, a professional honour for Walter, becomes his journey of revenge.Walter's sense of superiority is impenetrable. Even though he vomits at his first sight of suffering, he finds a way to save much of the village from disease. Kitty is meanwhile wasting away through loneliness. They have yet to discover the real vibrancy behind each other's mask. As they attempt to do so, the film challengingly asserts the contradiction of sexual versus spiritual love.An emotionally unintelligent man discovering the tenderness and complexity of another human being, and a good yet fairly shallow woman appreciating her own potential - and the value of another's great mind. But the symbol of the 'veil' goes much further. Norton says he wanted to 'lift the veil' on issues facing China in the 1920s. "If you're going to make a film set in China during the period, I think there's got to be a reason for doing it other than the inherent romanticism of the location."To Kitty, the work of the nuns headed by Mother Superior, Diana Rigg is laudable, especially with orphans. Walter, on the other hand, points out that they also pay parents for their children so as to indoctrinate them with Catholicism. Every Westerner is a colonialist of some sort, fuelling increasing resentment with the locals. Walter, carrying his torch of medicine rather than the fire of armaments, believes he is 'neutral'. He is somehow 'above' the armed soldiers that he relies on. Yet his rationalism is shallow, limited to believing that if only people would embrace Western ways they would have it so much easier.Kitty stays with Walter initially out of 'duty' but comes to question it when the Mother Superior says, "Duty is only washing one's hands when they are dirty." The philosophical challenge, echoed from Maugham, is whether duty and love can become one. This is the central tenet of the film. Walter, indubitably, seems to be following a higher 'duty' in saving people from cholera. Yet it is the experiencing of love in one form or another that gives meaning and fulfilment. That 'love' must be genuine but also under the domain of duty - else it leads astray. Walter's initial 'love' is respectful, exact - and only with the lights switched off. Kitty's is that of a gifted dilettante.The performances are finely chiselled. Watts combines convincing sensuality and tenderness yet still gives her character room to express deep emotion later on. When Walter discovers her sexual liaison with Charles played by Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts' real-life partner , he goes into heartless-bastard-mode. Norton who majored in history at Yale produces a convincing portrait of someone who is sharply intelligent and as precise as a scalpel. His painful awakening to the fact that humans are more than complex microbes is superbly judged. Polar opposites of smooth sleaze-bag Charles and straight-as-a-die Walter are movingly adjudicated by Deputy Commissioner Waddington Toby Jones . He has more insight into relationships than the rest of them put together, yet are we misled by his persona? "He is a good man," says the young Chinese woman that we saw him tussling naked and unashamed with moments earlier.Going beyond what we believe another to be, whether we put them on a pedestal or in derision, may only be the first stage. Being away from familiar surroundings leaves nothing to fall back on. No painted veil.This adaptation takes excusable liberties with the plot. It is true to the spirit of Shelley's poem I had to look it up to fully appreciate that, I think . It is a finely observed colonial-era drama that holds attention with a subdued dignity, quietly resisting the enticement to do a Merchant and Ivory. To the casual viewer it sometimes hangs between wasted opportunity and insipidness. But its themes are lovingly executed with skill and exactitude.My marriage lasted precisely one year. We both decided to travel. If we had been isolated in a distant country like the protagonists of this film, we may have discovered a more genuine love. Or killed each other. Unlike this sumptuous historical and emotional travelogue, the games we play don't always paint a pretty picture.