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The Painted Veil (2006)



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

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
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 11

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.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 54,467

My Rating

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.


Drama, Romance

Ron Nyswaner

May 8, 2007


Warner Independent Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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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.

April 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop Critic

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

January 6, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Exquisitely filmed and finely acted.

January 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This stab at grand romance fails to satisfy.

August 28, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

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

June 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Contents itself with making the Maugham work less prissy.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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

June 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
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.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

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

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

click for review

May 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

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

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

Wonderful scenery, great performances and a superb story.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

A great pleasure!

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

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

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film | Comments (2)
Total Film

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

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

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

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian

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

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

An exquisitely drawn character piece.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

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

April 24, 2007 Full Review Source:

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

April 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Unlike any love story I've seen before.

March 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
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.
December 25, 2013

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!
March 21, 2011

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.
December 22, 2010

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.
September 21, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Kitty Fane: As if a woman ever loved a man for his virtue.
    – Submitted by Marina N (19 months ago)
    1. Mother Superior: When love and duty are one, then grace is within you.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. 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 (20 months ago)
    1. 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)
    1. Kitty Fane: I've never thought of you in that way.
    2. Walter Fane: I think I improve greatly upon acquaintance.
    – Submitted by Nastassia J (2 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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