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.

Director:

John Curran

Writers:

Ron Nyswaner (screenplay), W. Somerset Maugham (novel)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine An Catherine An ... Hostess
Bin Li Bin Li ... Te-Ming
Bin Wu Bin Wu ... Student 1
Alan David Alan David ... Mr. Garstin
Marie-Laure Descoureaux Marie-Laure Descoureaux ... Sister St. Joseph
Sally Hawkins ... Mary (scenes deleted)
Juliet Howland ... Dorothy Townsend
Toby Jones ... Waddington
Lorraine Laurence Lorraine Laurence ... Sister Maryse
Gwing-Gai Lee Gwing-Gai Lee ... Angry Chinese Man (as Johnny Lee)
Li Feng Li Feng ... Sung Ching
Gesang Meiduo Gesang Meiduo ... Amah
Edward Norton ... Walter Fane
Yin Qing Yin Qing ... Student 2
Ian Renwick Ian Renwick ... Geoffrey Denison (as Ian Rennick)
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Storyline

This love story has Kitty (Naomi Watts) meeting young, intelligent, shy and somewhat dull Dr. Walter Fane (Edward Norton), whose forte is the study of infectious diseases, and the convenient marriage to which she finds herself committed. It is in this web of intrigue that they head for China, only after Walter discovers Kitty's infidelity with the dashing and witty diplomat Charlie Townsend (Liev Schreiber). 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 of these flightless lovebirds and with the hardships and tolerances more than any had ever anticipated. A visual delight amidst the pain and suffering of 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

German Film Award winning Director Caroline Link was attached to the project, also working on her own version of the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

During the love scene between Kitty And Walter, Kitty takes Walter's shirt off while they are kissing. In the next shot, Walter has his shirt back on and in the shot after that, when they are falling onto the bed, he has the shirt off again. See more »

Quotes

Kitty Fane: [about Wan Xi] I had no idea you had so much affection for her.
Waddington: What makes you think I do?
Kitty Fane: I can see it in your eyes. I wonder what she sees in you.
Waddington: [In Chinese] What do you see in me?
Wan Xi: [to Waddington] You're a good man.
Waddington: She says I'm a good man.
Kitty Fane: As if a women has ever loved a man for his virtue.
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Connections

Referenced in Marginais (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Reste Avec Moi
(French translation of "Abide with Me")
Words by Henry F. Lyte (as Henry Lyte) (in the English version, but translated here to French)
Music by William H. Monk (as William Monk)
Arranged by Evan H. Chen (as Evan Chen)
Performed by The Choir of the Beijing Takahashi Culture and Art Centre
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User Reviews

 
Maugham masterpiece
7 January 2007 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. This is a surprisingly wonderful adaptation of the W Somerset Maugham novel. Maugham passed away many years ago, but in his time was an incredibly famous and popular playwright and novelist. His best known work is probably "The Razor's Edge". Part of the surprise is the beauty of the film since it is directed by John Curran, who has no directing credits to his name since 1995's excellent "Babe, the pig". Curran's eye and talent are on full display here with the aesthetics of 1920's China and the devastation of cholera.

The story is simple, but oh so elegant. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts are a very odd couple whom circumstances bring to an ill-conceived marriage. They are quite the odd couple and not the least bit charming together, even in the good moments. Norton stumbles on an affair between Watts and Liev Schreiber and the next thing we know Norton and Watts are on a two week journey into the depths of a Chinese jungle where a devastating cholera epidemic is occurring. The horrible situation brings out the best in each as people and finally as a couple. Along the way, their lives are impacted by two rather odd acquaintances, Toby Jones (off his fine turn as Truman Capote) and the long lost Diana Rigg as the Mother Superior at the local orphanage.

The story is tight, interesting and believable ... all signs of a terrific writer. The acting is worthy of such fine material and direction. Mr. Norton is wonderful as the quietly simmering bacteriologist who lacks interpersonal skills and warmth until the tragic environment brings about self-discovery. Ms. Watts continues her amazing run of top-caliber performances and is one of our top 3 actresses today. She is so subtle at times that it is easy to take her skills for granted. Mr. Schreiber, Mr. Jones and Ms. Rigg are all excellent in their roles and lets hope that Ms. Rigg will continue to bless us with her screen magic. It has been 40 years since she was the sexy Emma Peel from "The Avengers", but her presence on the screen is very welcome and needed.

There is a haunting score that continues throughout the film and some tremendous piano work credited to Lang Lang. The mood of the music and the film setting work together to deliver the effect of reading the novel as we watch the film. Quite a knockout for director Curran, who hopefully will not now disappear for the next decade!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

China | USA | Canada

Language:

English | Mandarin | French

Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Painted Veil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,086, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:

$8,060,487

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,910,847
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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