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The Painted Veil (2006)


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 143
Fresh: 106
Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: Visually, The Painted Veil has all the trappings of a stuffy period drama, but Norton's and Watts's deft portrayals of imperfect, complicated characters give the film a modern-day spark.

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 31
Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: Visually, The Painted Veil has all the trappings of a stuffy period drama, but Norton's and Watts's deft portrayals of imperfect, complicated characters give the film a modern-day spark.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 54,502


Movie Info

Set in the 1920s, this love story is about a young English couple (a doctor and a society girl) who marry hastily. They relocate to Hong Kong where they betray each other easily, but then they find an unexpected chance at redemption and happiness while on a deadly journey into the heart of ancient China.

PG-13 (for some mature sexual situations, partial nudity, disturbing images and brief drug content)
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Ron Nyswaner
In Theaters:
May 8, 2007
Box Office:
Warner Independent Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Painted Veil

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (106) | Rotten (37) | DVD (16)

The production values are characteristically sumptuous, William Daniels' photography is lustrous, and Boleslawski directs with suitable flair.

Full Review… | April 20, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

The always surprising Watts creates a woman at once contemporary and retro. And Norton, as a producer as well as star, concedes enough space for Schreiber and the effortlessly fascinating Jones to earn their own spotlights.

Full Review… | January 10, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Sweeping vistas, period-piece sets, impeccable literary source, a little stolid at times, but ultimately quite impressive.

January 8, 2007
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

The movie makes for a good old-fashioned wide-screen wallow.

Full Review… | January 6, 2007
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Exquisitely filmed and finely acted.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Miami Herald
Top Critic

This stab at grand romance fails to satisfy.

Full Review… | August 28, 2008

Norton's effect and Watts' able portrayal are not enough to move the misogyny of the narrative.

Full Review… | June 21, 2008
Film Threat

Contents itself with making the Maugham work less prissy.

Full Review… | June 10, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a wallow and I confess to wholeheartedly enjoying the plunge.

Full Review… | June 8, 2008
Sydney Morning Herald

Concealed passions are revealed as life takes unexpected turns and what initially seems like an act of vengeance becomes the making of the central characters

Full Review… | April 18, 2008
Urban Cinefile

The Painted Veil has a real pulse. It sweeps you up in the characters' journey from the beginning, and keeps you riveted from moment to moment.

Full Review… | May 7, 2007
Aisle Seat

...a finely crafted product that can hardly fail to touch one's heart.

Full Review… | May 7, 2007
Movie Metropolis

click for review

Full Review… | May 3, 2007
Movies for the Masses

John Curran controls the redemptive spirit of Maugham's book with merciful restraint, and gets excellent performances all round.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007

Wonderful scenery, great performances and a superb story.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Daily Mirror [UK]

A great pleasure!

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Daily Mail [UK]

Stunning scenery and superior thesping result in a period romance that combines the intimate with the epic.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Total Film

The problem isn't that it's painful to endure, but that it's a rather easier watch than it should be.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Daily Telegraph

Combine a strong-limbed narrative about marital frustration with a painstaking account of the British imperial presence in 1920s China.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007

If the cholera doesnâ(TM)t get you, the dialogue will.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Times [UK]

An exquisitely drawn character piece.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007

Overall this is a satisfyingly slow-burning romance, beautifully scored and acted.

Full Review… | April 24, 2007

Handsomely crafted, with meticulous performances, yet it plays out drily and in monotone.

Full Review… | April 20, 2007
Empire Magazine

Unlike any love story I've seen before.

Full Review… | March 28, 2007
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for The Painted Veil

The photography is stunning but the outstanding performances by Watts and Norton are what really elevates this honest material to a memorable experience, as they give shape to complex characters in an extremely involving drama about resentment, forgiveness and love.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A movie I was completely unaware of, and therefor surprised by... very pleasantly surprised by. It gets a little montage-y toward the end, and the odd shot is clumsy, but Norton and Watts are outstanding in this adaptation of Somerset Maugham's classic. A fine, exotic historical romance - see it!

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

Visually stunning at times, The Painted Veil is a heartwarming love story. The refreshing part of this love story is it shows the effort to find love, accept love and to forgive.

Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

Definitely a well thought out plot with great actors and incredible cinematography. The use of widescreen is flawless. Where this movie falls short is the political standpoint and emotional draw, ultimately you don't care as much as they want you to. That makes it sappy at times, but isn't that bad in an overall sense. Obviously you're seeing it for Edward Norton or Naomi Watts, who both do a great job.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

The Painted Veil Quotes

Kitty Fane:
As if a woman ever loved a man for his virtue.
– Submitted by Marina N (20 months ago)
Mother Superior:
When love and duty are one, then grace is within you.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Kitty Fane:
If no one spoke unless they had something to say, the human race would lose the power of speech.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Walter Fane:
It was silly of us to look for qualities in each other that we never had.
– Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
Kitty Fane:
I've never thought of you in that way.
Walter Fane:
I think I improve greatly upon acquaintance.
– Submitted by Nastassia J (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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