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The Painted Veil

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China, United States, Canada · 2006
Rated PG-13 · 2h 5m
Director John Curran
Starring Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Diana Rigg
Genre Romance, Drama

A British medical doctor fights a cholera outbreak in a small Chinese village, while also being trapped at home in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful wife.

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What are critics saying?


Village Voice by

Bolstered by a strong ensemble-- "Infamous's" Toby Jones as a deputy commissioner gone native, and a wonderfully wrinkled Diana Rigg as a Mother Superior, speaking up for disillusioned decency--and by the ecstatic cinematography of Stuart Dryburgh, The Painted Veil lifts Maugham's story clear of its prissy, attenuated spirituality, and into genuine passion.


Los Angeles Times by Carina Chocano

The Painted Veil has all the elements in place to be a great epic, but it fails to connect, to paraphrase Maugham's contemporary E.M. Forster, the prose with the passion. It's impeccable, but leaves you cold.


USA Today by Claudia Puig

The Painted Veil is a welcome addition to the slate of holiday movies, particularly for those drawn to intriguing tales of multi-dimensional characters in exotic settings.


Premiere by Ethan Alter

If The Painted Veil ultimately lacks some of the novelty and ambition of the year's best pictures, it still ranks as one of 2006's quiet gems.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

A lot takes place during The Painted Veil's two-hour running length, but most of what happens occurs within the hearts and minds of the leads.


TV Guide Magazine by Ken Fox

John Curran's pretty melodrama rubs off a few of the barbed edges from W. Somerset Maugham's 1925 novel about love and infidelity in a time of cholera, but no matter: the centerpiece is Naomi Watts' outstanding portrayal of an adulteress redeemed.


The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt

The film is unusual in that it is a co-production with the Chinese. Whatever difficulties this imposed on the Western filmmakers, the reward is a period film that feel authentic to its time and place.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

Whether through craft or constitution, Mr. Norton invests Walter with a petty cruelty that makes his character’s emotional thaw and Kitty’s predicament all the more poignant.


Variety by Todd McCarthy

Intelligent scripting, solid thesping and eye-catching location shooting aren't enough to make a compelling modern film of The Painted Veil.

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