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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (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 ...
Hostess
Bin Li ...
Te-Ming
Bin Wu ...
Student 1
Alan David ...
Mr. Garstin
Marie-Laure Descoureaux ...
Sister St. Joseph
...
Mary (scenes deleted)
...
Dorothy Townsend
...
Lorraine Laurence ...
Sister Maryse
Gwing-Gai Lee ...
Angry Chinese Man (as Johnny Lee)
Li Feng ...
Sung Ching
Gesang Meiduo ...
Amah
...
Yin Qing ...
Student 2
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:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del mundo  »

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Naomi Watts and John Curran previously worked together when he directed her in We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004). See more »

Goofs

In the scene where the orphans are asleep in the music room, Kitty can be seen holding one of the sleeping orphans. The orphan's head changes position between shots, her head is initially tilted towards Kitty, then tilting to the other side, and finally looking straight up. See more »

Quotes

Kitty Fane: [about Wan Xi] I had no idea you had so much affection for her.
Waddington: What makes you think I do?
Kitty Fane: I can see it in your eyes. I wonder what she sees in you.
Waddington: [In Chinese] What do you see in me?
Wan Xi: [to Waddington] You're a good man.
Waddington: She says I'm a good man.
Kitty Fane: As if a women has ever loved a man for his virtue.
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Connections

Remake of The Seventh Sin (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Reste Avec Moi
(French translation of "Abide with Me")
Words by Henry F. Lyte (as Henry Lyte) (in the English version, but translated here to French)
Music by William H. Monk (as William Monk)
Arranged by Evan H. Chen (as Evan Chen)
Performed by The Choir of the Beijing Takahashi Culture and Art Centre
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User Reviews

 
Exquisitely Layered, Haunting, and Clever Period Romance

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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