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The Painted Veil (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  19 January 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 73,845 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 215 user | 141 critic | 33 from

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.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine An ...
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 ...
Yin Qing ...
Student 2
Ian Renwick ...
Geoffrey Denison (as Ian Rennick)


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

Plot Keywords:

nudity | marriage | love | china | cholera | See All (223) »


Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people See more »


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:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del mundo  »

Box Office


$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


£1,381,143 (UK) (25 May 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Naomi Watts and John Curran previously worked together when he directed her in We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004). See more »


In the scene where the orphans are asleep in the music room, Kitty can be seen holding one of the sleeping orphans. The orphan's head changes position between shots, her head is initially tilted towards Kitty, then tilting to the other side, and finally looking straight up. See more »


Kitty Fane: Walter, stop. I'm pregnant.
Walter Fane: A baby?
[while Walter begins to look elated, Kitty looks terrified]
Walter Fane: You're quite certain?
Kitty Fane: Yes.
Walter Fane: Well, that's wonderful.
[he sees the scared look on Kitty's face and the he remembers; Kitty's affair with Charlie Townsend]
Walter Fane: How long do you think you've been like this?
Kitty Fane: Two months. Maybe longer.
Walter Fane: [his expression becomes solemn] Kitty. Am I the father?
See more »


Referenced in Marginais (2010) See more »


A La Claire Fontaine
Traditional French song
Performed by The Choir of the Beijing Takahashi Culture and Art Centre
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A most transporting film.
30 December 2006 | by (Scotland) – See all my reviews

I think is the tone of the film –– and by that I mean everything from the cinematography to the dialogue the music and, most of all, the nuanced performances –– which, because it is so consistent and so consistently sublime renders the film far apart from the ordinary.

I was interested to see that Naomi Watts and Edward Norton produced this film. No matter which of them (or, for that matter, any one of the film's fine cast) is on the screen, we are fully involved: they invite us into their story, they invite us to care.

Even if one were to strip away the performances and the story there is still the sheer beauty of the Chinese countryside, filmed to perfection.

Just go, and see for yourself.

163 of 200 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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