The Painted Veil (12A)

Film

Romance

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 24 2007

The trailer for this third screen rendition of W Somerset Maugham’s 1925 novel seems to promise a tourist-brochure narrative along the lines of ‘How Cholera Saved My Marriage’, but this handsome, adeptly performed production delivers more, if not quite enough. Flighty socialite Kitty (Naomi Watts) is edging past her marriageable expiry date, and hastily weds uptight bacteriologist Walter (Edward Norton) – though not as swiftly as she falls into bed with a caddish diplomat (Liev Schreiber). Enraged, Walter packs himself and his meowing wife off to a cholera-stricken corner of rural China and refuses inoculations for them both. It seems that the nebbishy doctor has an edge after all, or maybe just a few worms on the brain.

Aided by the insider’s eye of Toby Jones’ dissolute colonialist and enlightened by the example of Diana Rigg’s posse of selfless nuns, silly Kitty becomes a better person, a process enlivened by Watts’ flinty vulnerability, her ineffable gift for illuminating a character’s inner life. Norton is fine, too, as a multifaceted man of science whose worth and motivations are hard to pin down, while Stuart Dryburgh’s rich cinematography and Alexandre Desplat’s voluptuous score ensure that ‘The Painted Veil’ is never less than a beautiful object. But the problem with the movie is not simply what it is but what it reiterates; it’s yet another period piece in which the revolutionary political context is significant only for how it reflects or complicates the white protagonists’ situation, yet another First World journey of self-discovery that uses Third World chaos as its vehicle.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Apr 27, 2007

Duration:

125 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Naomi Watts, Toby Jones, Diana Rigg, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton

Music:

Alexandre Desplat

Editor:

Alexandre de Franceschi

Cinematography:

Stuart Dryburgh

Producer:

Sara Colleton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts

Screenwriter:

Ron Nyswaner

Director:

John Curran

Production Designer:

Tu Juhua

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usman khawaja

Somerset Maugham is an enigmatic figure in english literature as a world traveller ,social dramatist ,a professional doctor at St thomas hospital in lambeth and married to Syrrie Wellcome. He eloped to south of France with his american lover gerald Hoxton to die in his arms in 1952,but he gave the world books like of human bondage ,moon and sixpence ,razors edge,rain and the painted veil [1925]which is a thinly disguised account of reality and had to be revised twice to eliminate references to real life figures and is his most cherished work for somerset collectors ,so much so that MENARD [an american writer ]has written a book about this book , which somerset wrote after his return from far east in 1924 So when ED NORTON decides to produce and act in this classic with director john curran at helm cast in the lead as the stern but humane doctor bacteriologist ,walter fane you are in for a cinematic treat , particularly when naomi watts is cast as the impish , but erring kitty fane who doest think twice before cheating on her adoring husband with a local playboy diplomat at the british council in hong kong ,played as charlie by liev schreiber [omen], The subsequent discovery of the illicit liasion and charlies flat refusal to take any resposibility leaves kitty no choice but to endure the novel punishment inflicted by her aggravated spouse who drags her into the chinese interior into the wrap of a deadly cholera epidemic ,where we witness the drama unfold in a memorable and haunting manner as the two re discover their true feelings for each other in the midst of a french convent ,nuns and orphans and an ex-pat friend mr waddinton who has a chinese consort . The movie belongs to the haunting portrayals by Norton and Naomi as the two despise themselves ,row and still cant escape their love for each other , its a journey into the subconcious by a bisexual man [maugham ]who was possibly able to perceive both their emotions accurately as a self experience and its difficult not to feel sorry for both as kitty tries hard to please walter but his ego only wants to hurt her more and more ,but the respect that they gradually evolve for each other as they struggle to help the cholera victims turns to true love in the midst of the most dire and unpredictable circumstances that leads to a very passionate reunion beautifully and tastefully depicted on the screen waddington as an expat is good but his relatioship with a young chinese girl symbolises the best and worst that west brought to the east in the form of colonisation . the social comment and the colonial enslavement of china is scathing as is the western arrogance and the catholic attitudes ,the mother superior played by dame diana rigg who tells kitty if you subscribe to church of england that is a way of saying you dont believe in anything is hilarious but so true. nortons Walter is a paroxsmal man who is deeply in love ,humane ,dedicated but very proud ,essentially an intelligent sensitive and sophisticated man and norton is impeccable ,while naomi is the counterfoil as a fun loving ,piano playing ,socialite who loves to be noticed and made fuss about and its so natural to see her fall for the playboy married diplomat ,yet her snobbish character transforms into a strong woman who can defy the world as she falls in love with her husband only to lose him tragically in the end , as the two ask each other for forgiveness you are watching a perfect moment in time as everything comes almost to a stand still in that poignant moment ,but the following aftermath is even better There are many great scenes but the scene where kitty unwittingly discovers shes bearing a child but cant be sure of the fathers identity is essentially great cinema as both she and norton work wonders in that alone ,but so is the scene with the great waterwheel symbolising time as a vicious circle and the water it emanates as life itself , running pure and free without any human restraints ,almost a mataphor for love and spirituality ,but the corpses lining the corridors of the infirmary dead of dehydration secondary to cholera are reminders of the futility of human existence and our fragility . The movie has a great ending which will haunt you for days as it is absolutely unpredictable unless youve read the book,as is the splendid cinematography in the awesomely beautiful GUANXI region in china ,but its the soulful musical score by DESPLATS and the piano played by LANG LANG which you will never forget in this utterly haunting tale of love ,intrigue ,adultery and hatred but its human compassion that finally makes this shine like a star unlike its mediocre origonal with garbo in 1934 Somerset maugham might have known the characters in the movie as is rumoured but then this is eternal cinema where the cinema reflects life and life reflects cinema . A must see and can be seen again and again for its witticism and literary rendition of infidelity and human vanity in relation to our ego which in the end is responsible for our destruction or absolution as portrayed by tihis artistic endeavour from ed norton ,who i think is one of the best contemporary actors in the world . Somerset Maugham is an enigmatic figure in english literature as a world traveller ,social dramatist ,a professional doctor at St thomas hospital in lambeth and married to Syrrie Wellcome. He eloped to south of France with his american lover gerald Hoxton to die in his arms in 1952,but he gave the world books like of human bondage ,moon and sixpence ,razors edge,rain and the painted veil [1925]which is a thinly disguised account of reality and had to be revised twice to eliminate references to real life figures and is his most cherished work for somerset collectors ,so much so that MENARD [an american writer ]has written a book about this book , which somerset wrote after his return from far east in 1924 So when ED NORTON decides to produce and act in this classic with director john curran at helm cast in the lead as the stern but humane doctor bacteriologist ,walter fane you are in for a cinematic treat , particularly when naomi watts is cast as the impish , but erring kitty fane who doest think twice before cheating on her adoring husband with a local playboy diplomat at the british council in hong kong ,played as charlie by liev schreiber [omen], The subsequent discovery of the illicit liasion and charlies flat refusal to take any resposibility leaves kitty no choice but to endure the novel punishment inflicted by her aggravated spouse who drags her into the chinese interior into the wrap of a deadly cholera epidemic ,where we witness the drama unfold in a memorable and haunting manner as the two re discover their true feelings for each other in the midst of a french convent ,nuns and orphans and an ex-pat friend mr waddinton who has a chinese consort . The movie belongs to the haunting portrayals by Norton and Naomi as the two despise themselves ,row and still cant escape their love for each other , its a journey into the subconcious by a bisexual man [maugham ]who was possibly able to perceive both their emotions accurately as a self experience and its difficult not to feel sorry for both as kitty tries hard to please walter but his ego only wants to hurt her more and more ,but the respect that they gradually evolve for each other as they struggle to help the cholera victims turns to true love in the midst of the most dire and unpredictable circumstances that leads to a very passionate reunion beautifully and tastefully depicted on the screen waddington as an expat is good but his relatioship with a young chinese girl symbolises the best and worst that west brought to the east in the form of colonisation . the social comment and the colonial enslavement of china is scathing as is the western arrogance and the catholic attitudes ,the mother superior played by dame diana rigg who tells kitty if you subscribe to church of england that is a way of saying you dont believe in anything is hilarious but so true. nortons Walter is a paroxsmal man who is deeply in love ,humane ,dedicated but very proud ,essentially an intelligent sensitive and sophisticated man and norton is impeccable ,while naomi is the counterfoil as a fun loving ,piano playing ,socialite who loves to be noticed and made fuss about and its so natural to see her fall for the playboy married diplomat ,yet her snobbish character transforms into a strong woman who can defy the world as she falls in love with her husband only to lose him tragically in the end , as the two ask each other for forgiveness you are watching a perfect moment in time as everything comes almost to a stand still in that poignant moment ,but the following aftermath is even better There are many great scenes but the scene where kitty unwittingly discovers shes bearing a child but cant be sure of the fathers identity is essentially great cinema as both she and norton work wonders in that alone ,but so is the scene with the great waterwheel symbolising time as a vicious circle and the water it emanates as life itself , running pure and free without any human restraints ,almost a mataphor for love and spirituality ,but the corpses lining the corridors of the infirmary dead of dehydration secondary to cholera are reminders of the futility of human existence and our fragility . The movie has a great ending which will haunt you for days as it is absolutely unpredictable unless youve read the book,as is the splendid cinematography in the awesomely beautiful GUANXI region in china ,but its the soulful musical score by DESPLATS and the piano played by LANG LANG which you will never forget in this utterly haunting tale of love ,intrigue ,adultery and hatred but its human compassion that finally makes this shine like a star unlike its mediocre origonal with garbo in 1934 Somerset maugham might have known the characters in the movie as is rumoured but then this is eternal cinema where the cinema reflects life and life reflects cinema . A must see and can be seen again and again for its witticism and literary rendition of infidelity and human vanity in relation to our ego which in the end is responsible for our destruction or absolution as portrayed by tihis artistic endeavour from ed norton ,who i think is one of the best contemporary actors in the world .

usman khawaja

Somerset Maugham is an enigmatic figure in english literature as a world traveller ,social dramatist ,a professional doctor at St thomas hospital in lambeth and married to Syrrie Wellcome. He eloped to south of France with his american lover gerald Hoxton to die in his arms in 1952,but he gave the world books like of human bondage ,moon and sixpence ,razors edge,rain and the painted veil [1925]which is a thinly disguised account of reality and had to be revised twice to eliminate references to real life figures and is his most cherished work for somerset collectors ,so much so that MENARD [an american writer ]has written a book about this book , which somerset wrote after his return from far east in 1924 So when ED NORTON decides to produce and act in this classic with director john curran at helm cast in the lead as the stern but humane doctor bacteriologist ,walter fane you are in for a cinematic treat , particularly when naomi watts is cast as the impish , but erring kitty fane who doest think twice before cheating on her adoring husband with a local playboy diplomat at the british council in hong kong ,played as charlie by liev schreiber [omen], The subsequent discovery of the illicit liasion and charlies flat refusal to take any resposibility leaves kitty no choice but to endure the novel punishment inflicted by her aggravated spouse who drags her into the chinese interior into the wrap of a deadly cholera epidemic ,where we witness the drama unfold in a memorable and haunting manner as the two re discover their true feelings for each other in the midst of a french convent ,nuns and orphans and an ex-pat friend mr waddinton who has a chinese consort . The movie belongs to the haunting portrayals by Norton and Naomi as the two despise themselves ,row and still cant escape their love for each other , its a journey into the subconcious by a bisexual man [maugham ]who was possibly able to perceive both their emotions accurately as a self experience and its difficult not to feel sorry for both as kitty tries hard to please walter but his ego only wants to hurt her more and more ,but the respect that they gradually evolve for each other as they struggle to help the cholera victims turns to true love in the midst of the most dire and unpredictable circumstances that leads to a very passionate reunion beautifully and tastefully depicted on the screen waddington as an expat is good but his relatioship with a young chinese girl symbolises the best and worst that west brought to the east in the form of colonisation . the social comment and the colonial enslavement of china is scathing as is the western arrogance and the catholic attitudes ,the mother superior played by dame diana rigg who tells kitty if you subscribe to church of england that is a way of saying you dont believe in anything is hilarious but so true. nortons Walter is a paroxsmal man who is deeply in love ,humane ,dedicated but very proud ,essentially an intelligent sensitive and sophisticated man and norton is impeccable ,while naomi is the counterfoil as a fun loving ,piano playing ,socialite who loves to be noticed and made fuss about and its so natural to see her fall for the playboy married diplomat ,yet her snobbish character transforms into a strong woman who can defy the world as she falls in love with her husband only to lose him tragically in the end , as the two ask each other for forgiveness you are watching a perfect moment in time as everything comes almost to a stand still in that poignant moment ,but the following aftermath is even better There are many great scenes but the scene where kitty unwittingly discovers shes bearing a child but cant be sure of the fathers identity is essentially great cinema as both she and norton work wonders in that alone ,but so is the scene with the great waterwheel symbolising time as a vicious circle and the water it emanates as life itself , running pure and free without any human restraints ,almost a mataphor for love and spirituality ,but the corpses lining the corridors of the infirmary dead of dehydration secondary to cholera are reminders of the futility of human existence and our fragility . The movie has a great ending which will haunt you for days as it is absolutely unpredictable unless youve read the book,as is the splendid cinematography in the awesomely beautiful GUANXI region in china ,but its the soulful musical score by DESPLATS and the piano played by LANG LANG which you will never forget in this utterly haunting tale of love ,intrigue ,adultery and hatred but its human compassion that finally makes this shine like a star unlike its mediocre origonal with garbo in 1934 Somerset maugham might have known the characters in the movie as is rumoured but then this is eternal cinema where the cinema reflects life and life reflects cinema . A must see and can be seen again and again for its witticism and literary rendition of infidelity and human vanity in relation to our ego which in the end is responsible for our destruction or absolution as portrayed by tihis artistic endeavour from ed norton ,who i think is one of the best contemporary actors in the world . Somerset Maugham is an enigmatic figure in english literature as a world traveller ,social dramatist ,a professional doctor at St thomas hospital in lambeth and married to Syrrie Wellcome. He eloped to south of France with his american lover gerald Hoxton to die in his arms in 1952,but he gave the world books like of human bondage ,moon and sixpence ,razors edge,rain and the painted veil [1925]which is a thinly disguised account of reality and had to be revised twice to eliminate references to real life figures and is his most cherished work for somerset collectors ,so much so that MENARD [an american writer ]has written a book about this book , which somerset wrote after his return from far east in 1924 So when ED NORTON decides to produce and act in this classic with director john curran at helm cast in the lead as the stern but humane doctor bacteriologist ,walter fane you are in for a cinematic treat , particularly when naomi watts is cast as the impish , but erring kitty fane who doest think twice before cheating on her adoring husband with a local playboy diplomat at the british council in hong kong ,played as charlie by liev schreiber [omen], The subsequent discovery of the illicit liasion and charlies flat refusal to take any resposibility leaves kitty no choice but to endure the novel punishment inflicted by her aggravated spouse who drags her into the chinese interior into the wrap of a deadly cholera epidemic ,where we witness the drama unfold in a memorable and haunting manner as the two re discover their true feelings for each other in the midst of a french convent ,nuns and orphans and an ex-pat friend mr waddinton who has a chinese consort . The movie belongs to the haunting portrayals by Norton and Naomi as the two despise themselves ,row and still cant escape their love for each other , its a journey into the subconcious by a bisexual man [maugham ]who was possibly able to perceive both their emotions accurately as a self experience and its difficult not to feel sorry for both as kitty tries hard to please walter but his ego only wants to hurt her more and more ,but the respect that they gradually evolve for each other as they struggle to help the cholera victims turns to true love in the midst of the most dire and unpredictable circumstances that leads to a very passionate reunion beautifully and tastefully depicted on the screen waddington as an expat is good but his relatioship with a young chinese girl symbolises the best and worst that west brought to the east in the form of colonisation . the social comment and the colonial enslavement of china is scathing as is the western arrogance and the catholic attitudes ,the mother superior played by dame diana rigg who tells kitty if you subscribe to church of england that is a way of saying you dont believe in anything is hilarious but so true. nortons Walter is a paroxsmal man who is deeply in love ,humane ,dedicated but very proud ,essentially an intelligent sensitive and sophisticated man and norton is impeccable ,while naomi is the counterfoil as a fun loving ,piano playing ,socialite who loves to be noticed and made fuss about and its so natural to see her fall for the playboy married diplomat ,yet her snobbish character transforms into a strong woman who can defy the world as she falls in love with her husband only to lose him tragically in the end , as the two ask each other for forgiveness you are watching a perfect moment in time as everything comes almost to a stand still in that poignant moment ,but the following aftermath is even better There are many great scenes but the scene where kitty unwittingly discovers shes bearing a child but cant be sure of the fathers identity is essentially great cinema as both she and norton work wonders in that alone ,but so is the scene with the great waterwheel symbolising time as a vicious circle and the water it emanates as life itself , running pure and free without any human restraints ,almost a mataphor for love and spirituality ,but the corpses lining the corridors of the infirmary dead of dehydration secondary to cholera are reminders of the futility of human existence and our fragility . The movie has a great ending which will haunt you for days as it is absolutely unpredictable unless youve read the book,as is the splendid cinematography in the awesomely beautiful GUANXI region in china ,but its the soulful musical score by DESPLATS and the piano played by LANG LANG which you will never forget in this utterly haunting tale of love ,intrigue ,adultery and hatred but its human compassion that finally makes this shine like a star unlike its mediocre origonal with garbo in 1934 Somerset maugham might have known the characters in the movie as is rumoured but then this is eternal cinema where the cinema reflects life and life reflects cinema . A must see and can be seen again and again for its witticism and literary rendition of infidelity and human vanity in relation to our ego which in the end is responsible for our destruction or absolution as portrayed by tihis artistic endeavour from ed norton ,who i think is one of the best contemporary actors in the world .