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The Painted Veil (2006)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 19 January 2007 (USA)
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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.

Director:

John Curran

Writers:

Ron Nyswaner (screenplay), W. Somerset Maugham (novel)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine An Catherine An ... Hostess
Bin Li Bin Li ... Te-Ming
Bin Wu Bin Wu ... Student 1
Alan David Alan David ... Mr. Garstin
Marie-Laure Descoureaux Marie-Laure Descoureaux ... Sister St. Joseph
Sally Hawkins ... Mary (scenes deleted)
Juliet Howland ... Dorothy Townsend
Toby Jones ... Waddington
Lorraine Laurence Lorraine Laurence ... Sister Maryse
Gwing-Gai Lee Gwing-Gai Lee ... Angry Chinese Man (as Johnny Lee)
Li Feng Li Feng ... Sung Ching
Gesang Meiduo Gesang Meiduo ... Amah
Edward Norton ... Walter Fane
Yin Qing Yin Qing ... Student 2
Ian Renwick Ian Renwick ... Geoffrey Denison (as Ian Rennick)
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Storyline

This love story has Kitty meeting young, intelligent, shy and somewhat dull Dr. Walter Fane, whose forte is the study of infectious diseases, and the convenient marriage that she finds herself committed to. It is in this web of intrigue that they head for China, only after Walter discovers Kitty's infidelity with one dashing and witty diplomat Charlie Townsend. So much as to hide her from herself and to help thwart a cholera outbreak, this is a marriage more than on the rocks. This is a cold, indifferent and loveless partnership in a vast unknown and deadly environment that will test both these flightless lovebirds and with the hardships and tolerances more than any had ever anticipated. A visual delight amid the pain and suffering of a dying people and failing marriage. Will a cure be found for both, before it's too late? Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Forgiveness comes at a price See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some mature sexual situations, partial nudity, disturbing images and brief drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

China | USA | Canada

Language:

English | Mandarin | French

Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del mundo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$71,814, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:

$8,060,487, 26 April 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,522,838
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicole Kidman was considered for the leading role. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Walter is telling Kitty he wants to divorce her, Kitty's necklace (with Charlie Townsend's ring) disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Mother Superior: When love and duty are one, grace is within you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Marginais (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Furet Du Bois Joli
Composed by Pierre De Berville
Arranged by Evan H. Chen (as Evan Chen)
Performed by The Choir of the Beijing Takahashi Culture and Art Centre
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Exquisitely Layered, Haunting, and Clever Period Romance
14 January 2007 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

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 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.


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