Painted Veil

Directed By: John Curran Starring: Naomi Watts Edward Norton

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4 out of 5
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A Beautiful Movie

by Gary Anderson on 7/2/2007

Relax and sip a chilled glass of wine while you watch this wonderful tale of drama in a foreign land. I highly recommend this movie. It is a timeless classic.

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Not bad. Not great, but not bad

by movie watcher on 2/24/2008

Ed Norton does a terrific job. Movie is a bit slow, but that's the movie itself. Wasn't blown away, but it was enjoyable.

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Product Overview

The story of a young english couple, walter, a middle class doctor and kitty, an upper-class woman, who get married for the wrong reason and relocate to shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else. When he uncovers her infidelity, he takes a job in china and takes her along which brings new meaning to them.


Studio Warner
SKU 204297808
UPC 012569585577
UPC 14 00012569585577
Format DVD
Release Date 5/8/2007
Rating Rating
Based On A Novel
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note The third film version of Somerset Maughm's 1925 novel--directed by John Curran--is ripe with stunning Chinese locales and a smart turn from Naomi Watts as Kitty Fane, the aging English socialite who must put herself in strange and turbulent surroundings before she finds her true self. A complex and beautiful international production, this adaptation benefits greatly from the lack of restrictions that inhibited its previous incarnations in 1925 (with Greta Garbo) and in 1957 (as THE SEVENTH SIN). ^After pressure from her wealthy parents to settle down, Kitty marries mild-mannered bacteriologist Walter (Edward Norton), despite her lack of love for him. Shortly after their vows, he takes her to Shanghai, where she immediately has an affair with Charles Townsend (Liev Shrieber), an English Vice Consul. Walter becomes aware of Kitty's indiscretion and promptly whisks her away to the mountain village of Mei-tan-fu, where they befriend another English expat, the secretly decadent Deputy Commissioner Waddington (Toby Jones, in an extremely likable performance). Walter begins working to hold an encroaching cholera epidemic at bay---leaving Kitty to ponder her role in the situation as death looms over the village like a specter. ^A labor of love that took the better part of a decade for producer Norton and screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, THE PAINTED VEIL is a large, complex, and visually sumptuous production that employed a primarily Chinese crew on its intense location shoots. Norton's passion for the material is on full display, as he turns in another solid performance. Watts, however, who portrayed another unfaithful wife in Curran's previous film WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (2004), is the heart of the film, all bee-stung lips and sweat on porcelain skin. Romantic, escapist entertainment in the best sense, THE PAINTED VEIL is yet more proof that there is an endless pool of silver screen potential in the classics of literature.
Rolling Stone 3 stars out of 4 -- "THE PAINTED VEIL has the power and intimacy of a timeless love story. By all means, let it sweep you away." 12/28/2006 p.121
Entertainment Weekly "The always surprising Watts creates a woman at once contemporary and retro..." -- Grade: B 01/19/2007 p.56
Movieline's Hollywood Life "[I]t's Australian Naomi Watts who gives the film its heart. She turns in one of the year's best performances as a shallow woman who is transformed by adversity." 01/01/2007 p.97
Sight and Sound "[P]roduction design, costumes, make-up and lighting all contribute to an elegant evocation of a period and place, and are complemented by Alexandre Desplat's Golden-Globe-winning score." 05/01/2007 p.76
Ultimate DVD 5 stars out of 5 -- "A sumptuous and accomplished adaptation....THE PAINTED VEIL reminds one of the sheer power of understatement." 07/06/2007 p.101
Total Film 3 stars out of 5 -- "[S]mart, classy....Naomi Watts and Ed Norton engross as an unhappily married couple.....This emerges as a touching tale of love at second sight." 10/01/2007 p.125
Uncut 4 stars out of 5 -- "Edward Norton and Naomi Watts are brilliant....Quietly powerful." 10/01/2007 p.131
John Curran
Naomi Watts
Edward Norton
Cast & Crew
Alexandre de Franceschi - Editor
Alexandre Desplat - Original Music By
Diana Rigg - Actor
Edward Norton - Actor
Edward Norton - Producer
John Curran - Director
Liev Schreiber - Actor
Naomi Watts - Actor
Peta Lawson - Art Director
Robert Katz - Executive Producer
Ron Nyswaner - Screenplay
Stuart Dryburgh - Cinematographer
W. Somerset Maugham - Based On Novel By
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2006
Catalog ID 58557
UPC 00012569585577
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 125 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.40:1
Winner (2007) Golden Globe, Alexandre Desplat, Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Nominee (2007) Independent Spirit, Edward Norton, Best Male Lead,Independent Spirit, Ron Nyswaner, Best Screenplay
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review The Painted Veil, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, takes viewers on a journey into early 20th century rural China, where a cholera epidemic becomes the backdrop for shifts and growing pains in a fractured marriage. Due in large part to effective acting and a well developed screenplay, the movie provides a twofold source of satisfaction. In addition to developing real, believable characters, The Painted Veil provides an extended glimpse of what China was like during the 1920s. The movie achieves a rare balance for an historical fiction: making use of the backdrop without allowing it to overwhelm the characters and their story. The Painted Veil is a multifaceted motion picture, but the relationship between the protagonists remains the focal point.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
Review The third and best cinematic adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1925 novel, The Painted Veil is a beautifully mounted and incisively acted period piece, bristling with intelligence and caustic wit. And it marks yet another triumph for Naomi Watts. In a role first played by Greta Garbo in the creaky 1934 film version, the luminously beautiful and gifted Australian actress gives a sterling performance as a spoiled and restless British doctor's wife, literally and emotionally trapped in a remote Chinese village during a cholera epidemic in the 1920s. Starring opposite the equally fine Edward Norton, Watts finds the vulnerability and decency hidden beneath her character's selfish, petulant faade in this engrossing film, skillfully directed by John Curran (We Don't Live Here Anymore).
Reviewer Tim Knight
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Claudia Puig, USA Today ...for those drawn to intriguing tales of multi-dimensional characters in exotic settings.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle The year's best romantic drama.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor ...a lush mysteriousness that represents a bygone, almost antique style of romanticism.
Stephanie Zacharek, old-fashioned melodramatic epic never less than thrummingly alive.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer with history and heartbreak. It's stirring stuff.

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