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Movie Review: The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil
Directed by John Curran
Written by Ron Nyswaner from the novel by W. Somerset Maugham
Warner Independent

The Painted Veil has been done twice before, once in 1934 and another as The Seventh Sin in 1957.  Almost everything Maugham has ever written has been translated to film; the last one was 2004’s Being Julia.

It’s the 20’s and bacteriologist Walter Fane (Edward Norton) falls in love with Kitty (Naomi Watts) after the briefest of courtships, and asks her to marry him.  She doesn’t love him, and he knows it, but she knows she’ll be taken care of and accepts.  Walter tries everything he can to make her fall in love with him, but he’s a bit of a stiff, and on a trip to China they meet deputy consulate Charlie Townshend (Liev Schreiber).  It’s not long before Kitty and Charlie start getting it on.  Walter finds out, threatens a divorce, and gets his wife to come with him to a remote Chinese province infected with cholera, where he hopes to help in any way he can.

Full of distrust for one another, the couple doesn’t talk much, and Walter delves deeply into the cholera work while Kitty becomes a bored housewife, with only one English-speaking friend around, Waddington (Infamous‘ Toby Jones), a chap who seems to have found love and happiness somehow in this depressing area.  Eventually, Kitty starts learning not to be such a spoiled brat and wants to help, learning about sacrifice.  Things just might warm up between she and her husband after all.

The Painted Veil is one of those movies that has good performances and is an overall good drama, but it’s nothing really special.  It’s like giving someone a pat on the back for not screwing anything up.  A couple of years from now, no one will remember this movie, even though right now it seems to be an Oscar contender for at least the performances by the always-good Norton and Watts.


Comment from Anonymous
Time: July 1, 2008, 4:44 pm

on the contrary ppl will remember this classical movie itis very rare and realistic not like movies who r fake and imaginary at least it has amoral that we can learn from!!!!!! of course its an oscar ! i bet this movie cost a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from Anonymous
Time: July 1, 2008, 4:45 pm

ohh i loveeeeee this movie !!!!!!!!! its sooo romanticcc!!!!!!!!1

Comment from Anonymous
Time: July 1, 2008, 4:47 pm

what a nice movie !!!!!! the actors did a pretty nice job!!!

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