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The Painted Veil (2006)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 19 January 2007 (USA)
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)
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3,950 ( 763)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine An ...
Hostess
Bin Li ...
Bin Wu ...
Student 1
Alan David ...
Marie-Laure Descoureaux ...
...
Mary (scenes deleted)
...
...
Lorraine Laurence ...
Gwing-Gai Lee ...
Angry Chinese Man (as Johnny Lee)
Li Feng ...
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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$71,814 (USA) (22 December 2006)

Gross:

$8,047,690 (USA) (20 April 2007)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

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 Kitty and Walter enter their house in the village where they go because of the Cholera epidemic, the first time they enter there is a floor lamp in the living room with a green glass shade. After that first scene, the lamp disappears and is never seen again. See more »

Quotes

[Walter and Kitty are out at the Chinese Opera with Charlie and Dorothy Townsend]
Charlie Townsend: Are you enjoying it?
Kitty Fane: I've never seen anything like it.
Charlie Townsend: Every gesture has a meaning. See how she covers her face with the cloth? She is mourning her misfortune.
Kitty Fane: What happened to her?
Charlie Townsend: She was sold into slavery. Condemned to a life of drudgery and despair in a strange land far from home. See the chains? They represent the heavy bondage of her poor, trapped soul from which there is no escape, and so she weeps. She ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in The 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

A La Claire Fontaine
Traditional French song
Vocals by N. Porebski / L. Descamps
Piano by Roger Pouly
Courtesy of Les Petits Minous
Produced and published by AKCS
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Watts and Norton present The Painted Veil in vivid, true to life colors
24 December 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The Painted Veil has all of the elements a viewer looks for in a period piece set during the time of British colonial rule. Beautiful scenery and costumes, a cast of thousands, and enough background information to make you feel you are more educated about a time and place than you were before you saw the movie.

What this film offers the fortunate viewer that many other movies of its kind do not, are lead characters you can actually empathize with and grow to care about. "Walter" and "Kitty" are far more likable and worth rooting for than- I don't know, let's say- Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in the English Patient (see? I don't even remember their characters' names.) The movie's tagline- "Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people" succinctly points to the heart of this film, and what makes it work so well; the journey of a couple who married for the wrong reasons towards true intimacy with each other.

On one level, the plot is so simple and straightforward that a one line summary gives the whole story away, and for that reason, I will refrain from providing that information as much as possible. It is enough to know that it is the story of The Fanes- Walter, the shy, bookish bacteriologist, and Kitty, the shallow, haughty young woman he becomes infatuated in and persuades to marry him. Walter takes Kitty to Shanghai, where he works in a government lab. Circumstances lead Walter to re-locate them to a more remote area of China in the throes of a cholera epidemic. It is in this setting that the parallel stories unfold; the story of a doctor and his wife living in the house of a dead missionary's family as the doctor tries to get control of the conditions responsible for the epidemic, and the story of the couple's journey towards re-discovering each other.

The impressive skill that Ms. Watts and Mr. Norton bring to their work truly makes you believe that that the first challenge- combating cholera amid colonial unrest and nationalist hostilities is easier than the task of repairing a damaged marriage, and with each uneasy glance and every unsaid word, you feel what these two people feel. And that is the beauty of The Painted Veil. Fans of Ms. Watts and Mr. Norton will have reason to rejoice- this is a performance unlike any I have ever seen Ms. Watts give. There is nothing of what was becoming her trademark "emotionally fragile woman in shambles" persona on display here. And what of Edward Norton? Well, after his turn in The Illusionist earlier in the year and now "Walter Fane," all I can say is, move over, Ralph Fiennes- there's a new sexy "repressed, stiff-upper-lipped, sensually simmering under the surface" leading man in town.

The Painted Veil is an intelligently adapted, well-directed film with two charismatic, award-worthy lead performances and a strong supporting cast, including Liev Schreiber, Diana Rigg, and most notably Toby Jones as the Fanes' neighbor. It is also wonderfully entertaining, and a good introduction to the period piece/historical epic genre some viewers have been avoiding due to fear of suffocation.


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