User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 113
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  1. Jun 18, 2014
    8
    This film certainly has a lot going for it. First off, the cinematography is gorgeous. Every shot is more beautiful than the next, thanks in large to the beautiful and picturesque scenery. The acting from leads Edward Norton and Naomi Watts is top-notch and their chemistry is very good with one another. Toby Jones also has a good supporting role here. For all of them, they got to play veryThis film certainly has a lot going for it. First off, the cinematography is gorgeous. Every shot is more beautiful than the next, thanks in large to the beautiful and picturesque scenery. The acting from leads Edward Norton and Naomi Watts is top-notch and their chemistry is very good with one another. Toby Jones also has a good supporting role here. For all of them, they got to play very well developed and multi-faceted characters, a bonus for them and a key element to what makes this one a success, as the script is very well done. In addition, the love story is well done. I am not typically overly into romantic films, but this one is definitely different as the romance feels real and not cheesy at all. All of these elements also feel realistic for the time period depicted and really makes it feel like an authentic portrayal of a man and a wife who are going through troubled times with one another. Finally, the film is very interesting, it never really failed to have my interest. Yes, it is slow and methodic, but it is a gorgeous film to watch and take in and never really heads towards "boring" for me. Overall, "The Painted Veil" is a very well done period piece that is almost melodic in its portrayal of this love story. Expand
  2. Mar 6, 2014
    10
    Beautiful and tragic love story. Plot is quite simple but emotionally really complex. I also love the gloomy atmosphere and music through the film. Definitely one of my favorites.
  3. May 28, 2013
    2
    The Painted Veil is an excruciating lengthy bore that doesn't have a minute that is worth acknowledging. The romance between the leads is so unconvincing it becomes worthless, similar to the rest of the film.
  4. May 24, 2013
    8
    A movie that captures you with its poignant imagery and characterizations. The performances are subtle, yet strong they are all believable in their characters. The quiet beauty of the story is somewhat undone by some elements of the ending, thus keeping it from fully realizing its potential. However, that does not detract much from its overall appeal as a really well crafted romantic drama.
  5. Apr 7, 2013
    7
    A solid classic love story. Terrific performances and scenery. However, never really seems like the movie fulfills would it could have achieved. It had all the elements, but never reached its potential.
  6. Mar 18, 2012
    10
    Excellent, emotionally moving story. The intellectual growth of the main character is nicely portrayed. Gorgeous scenery perfectly, profesionally captured.
  7. CarlosR
    Jul 27, 2009
    9
    Beautiful photography, astounding music and very good acting from Norton and Naomi.
  8. wendys
    May 2, 2009
    10
    Incredible movie. One of the best I've seen. Beautiful imagery and moving stoy. I loved this one.
  9. IanB
    Apr 12, 2009
    10
    This really is a superb film, meant for an adult, educated audience, lacking car chases and kung foo fights. Great acting by leading roles and a gentle but powerful story development. It's nice to know there are still movies like this being made in spite of the needs of our age for instant amusement.
  10. Kathyl
    Mar 21, 2009
    8
    I thought this movie was very, very good. The relationship between the two characters was believable and moving. Their passions and emotions were real. The acting was superb and the cinematography was excellent. I can't understand why this movie did not do better--it is a gem.
  11. Jehanzeb
    Feb 11, 2009
    10
    Very touching story with good pace. beautiful sceneries, lush photography..excellent acting. The sceneries and emotions were given due time and regard. Slowliness was necessary to maintain quality. Must see phenomenon.
  12. SusanS.
    Dec 16, 2008
    9
    Captivating, a well acted period piece that was engaging enough to require further reading and research after the movie credits ran. Completely engrossing...the characters were multi-dimensional and well layered. The depths of each character kept me interested in their demons and wanting to know more. Wonderful film.
  13. RatC.
    Sep 18, 2008
    10
    Great Movie! Deep, thoughtful, inspiring, heartbrokenly romantic, another excellent performance from ED and NW! 100% positive.
  14. PokyM.
    Jul 13, 2008
    9
    This is a welcome change from the usual stuff coming from Hollywood. The ending came on rather abruptly just as the viewer has setteled down to enjoy the slow pace. A pleasurable way to while away time while peeking into the social life, customs and traditions of early 20th century England and the wide ranging effects and repercussions of the presence of the British Empire in China.
  15. miriamk.
    Jul 9, 2008
    10
    One of edward norton's best performance. long drawn out affair between himself and kitty fane. no better job could of been done. portrays most of somerset's ideas. Two thumbs up.
  16. KittyH.
    May 13, 2008
    10
    This beautiful, moving film has become one of my favorites. The splendid cast lifts Maugham's story off the page. A film with something to say about love and commitment and a gorgeous score to boot.
  17. JennyR.
    May 1, 2008
    10
    This is Naomi Watts' best role yet. She is one of the greatest actor's of our time. Edward Norton was surprisingly excellent in this film and has turned me into a fan of his. Sad but realistic love story.
  18. TonyB.
    Apr 26, 2008
    8
    Genuine atonement for one's sin can lead to full redemption. That is the theme of this beautifully designed, photographed, edited and scored film. Naomi Watts and Edward Horton are extremely effective in two challenging and complex roles and are complemented by some admirable work from the film's fine supporting cast. It is unfortunate that one of the best pictures of 2006 did Genuine atonement for one's sin can lead to full redemption. That is the theme of this beautifully designed, photographed, edited and scored film. Naomi Watts and Edward Horton are extremely effective in two challenging and complex roles and are complemented by some admirable work from the film's fine supporting cast. It is unfortunate that one of the best pictures of 2006 did not get the attention it deserved. Expand
  19. eve
    Apr 9, 2008
    3
    Cannot enjoy it, it needs a stronger more charismatic lead than Ed Norton. How does he manage to make every movie he is in such a clunker?
  20. ElenaM
    Mar 9, 2008
    10
    It was compelling and sad. It was a journey of love, forgiveness and tolerance.
  21. JasonP.
    Feb 25, 2008
    9
    A very good movie that slipped under the radar. The cinematography was excellent, as was the acting. Anthony Wong is always a face I'm glad to see in a film. To Evie B. : how can Watts' accent be bad if she IS English?
  22. ShelleyX.
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    A most compelling story about love and forgiveness, perfectly portrayed by a wonderful cast. Its heartaching beauty will bring me back to see it again and again.
  23. KimA
    Jan 16, 2008
    9
    This is what happens when really great actors tell a sensitively filmed story written by a great writer. As I recall, Somerset Maugham doesn't do "happy" at the end, but something that feels more true.
  24. SarahM
    Nov 18, 2007
    8
    Except for the rather predictable ending, I thought this movie was top-notch. Excellent acting, great story-line, thought-provoking. Those who have deemed it as "slow" may not appreciate the period-piece drama, but I thought it was one of the best of this genre.
  25. SeanM.
    Sep 18, 2007
    10
    Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end and so refreshing to see a film whose pace respects the characters, the story and the scenery. The acting is excellent and, despite what one user wrote, the accents were spot on. I'm English, by the way.
  26. JuliaB
    Jul 28, 2007
    10
    Amazing, literally. Great acting from every actor and beautiful scenery with an actual REALISTIC romance.
  27. avaL
    Jul 22, 2007
    10
    I really liked how the couple in the movie met, and married for the wrong reasons, but after time grew so much in love until they couldn't live without each other!! Plus Norton and Watts are great actors!!This movie is a must see!!
  28. BarbaraB.
    Jun 30, 2007
    10
    This was a beautiful movie with complex characters, beautiful scenery and a haunting score. It was simply a pleasure to watch.
  29. EvieB.
    Jun 19, 2007
    4
    Nice looking, but boring. Plus Edward Norton and Naomi Watts have terrible British accents.
  30. LindaL.
    Jun 5, 2007
    8
    I just watched two of the old B&W films made of Maugham's short stories ("Quartet" and "Trio") and this movie made for a really nice continuation of that whole repressed British era -- only in gorgeous, panoramic color. I think Watts is pretty much always excellent, and the not-really-handsome Norton was perfect in this part. Somehow the denouement and ending weren't that I just watched two of the old B&W films made of Maugham's short stories ("Quartet" and "Trio") and this movie made for a really nice continuation of that whole repressed British era -- only in gorgeous, panoramic color. I think Watts is pretty much always excellent, and the not-really-handsome Norton was perfect in this part. Somehow the denouement and ending weren't that satisfying, though. Expand
  31. ChristopherW.
    May 23, 2007
    6
    Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are immensely gifted actors, and if not for their presence, the film would lose several points right off the top. While the story is provocative and quite graceful, it feels interminable. The pace moves at a chugging thud, and what should have been an emotional wallop at film's end, instead feels like a respite. It's over! Wonderful performances and Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are immensely gifted actors, and if not for their presence, the film would lose several points right off the top. While the story is provocative and quite graceful, it feels interminable. The pace moves at a chugging thud, and what should have been an emotional wallop at film's end, instead feels like a respite. It's over! Wonderful performances and gorgeous photography help a lot. Very slow! Expand
  32. NancyE
    May 22, 2007
    10
    The Painted Veil should have been nominated for best film in 2006. The story of how a married couple finally come to love and respect each other with grace is haunting. Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Diana Rigg gave beautifully modulated performances. The music weaves gently throughout.
  33. PnArdyPnArdy
    May 13, 2007
    4
    Rather boring drama romance with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton who plays a loving husband and doctor who volunteers to go to the central China to help treat its growing epidemic of cholera in the beginning of a century. [***SPOILER***]Unfortunately he dies.
  34. JulieS.
    Apr 30, 2007
    10
    Despite the poor reviews on TV and in newspapers we went to see this film. I think the reviewers need to have a more positive attitude to films like this - they can really put people off and many many people will love this film. The scenery was fabulous and acting brilliant. I enjoyed every minute - it was a change from the usual blockbusters.
  35. JohnC.
    Apr 16, 2007
    10
    Wonderful movie! See it on the big screen if you still can, it has such a wonderful atmosphere and sense of place. Best movie I've seen all year, really stuck with me.
  36. KathleenG.
    Apr 3, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie. I had no idea how great it would be. Edward Norton gives a stunning performance; the locales are breathtaking; and the humanity painfully poignant. It should have been the best picture of 2006 instead of the weak slate of movies nominated.
  37. CinBuff
    Mar 23, 2007
    9
    Well done with nice touches making the characters viable and very human. Slightly deceptive early in the plot, but it works none the less. Photography is very .. well ... visual. Color could have been a bit more sumptious but it is carried along by the story line, the characters, and the visuals. a solid 8.5 if not a 9.
  38. J.S.
    Feb 4, 2007
    7
    I may have to read the original story to determine if the affair of the heroine is the catalyst to both her personal growth and her new found understanding of what her husband lacks, the tools to elicit better behavior from him and the ultimate, tragic revenge she wrecks on him. The beauty and the pathos of the film are exquiste. I, also, wonder of the significance of the title.
  39. ChristineM.
    Jan 21, 2007
    10
    Romantic , both contemporary and retro. Glorious photography and exquisite acting by all.
  40. JoanneG.
    Jan 16, 2007
    7
    The movie had the potential to be an important love story and period piece, but failed due to a weak ending. Just as it was getting started, the movie ended abruptly leaving the viewer feeling rather empty. This chilly feeling was due to a poorly scripted conclusion rather than the acting ability of Norton and Watts who gave strong performances.
  41. [Anonymous]
    Jan 14, 2007
    8
    I woke up thinking about this movie, which is generally my arbiter for whether something is good or not. Sumptuously filmed and acted (although some of the same scenes got repetitive; you could tell they were filming in a constrained location), this movie will linger with you. My only complaint is that after watching a film where so much is portrayed through a glance or gesture, why did I woke up thinking about this movie, which is generally my arbiter for whether something is good or not. Sumptuously filmed and acted (although some of the same scenes got repetitive; you could tell they were filming in a constrained location), this movie will linger with you. My only complaint is that after watching a film where so much is portrayed through a glance or gesture, why did the director end with the puerile dialogue he did? He could have filmed the same scene with just music and no dialogue and it would have had more impact. Expand
  42. BillyS.
    Jan 12, 2007
    6
    The Painted Veil is like stumbling on one of those great Joan Crawford melodramatic love stories at 2 a.m. and not being able to turn it off! It is all very well made and shows a lot of heart but it feels like a sad attempt at a by-gone genre that was done so much better a few years ago in Far From Heaven. Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are both very good but they come off a little more The Painted Veil is like stumbling on one of those great Joan Crawford melodramatic love stories at 2 a.m. and not being able to turn it off! It is all very well made and shows a lot of heart but it feels like a sad attempt at a by-gone genre that was done so much better a few years ago in Far From Heaven. Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are both very good but they come off a little more nostalgic than realistic. The score and cinematography make it worth the price of admission if your in the mood for a beautiful, good old melodrama. Expand
  43. Kathleen
    Jan 7, 2007
    9
    Stunningly beautiful to watch with a terrific musical score, this movie is perfect for people who enjoy period films. It was painful to watch Norton's character at times--he delivered an inspired performance. Naomi Watts captured my attention far more in this film than any other I've seen her in. I didn't expect to enjoy it so much.
  44. tinaholmes
    Jan 2, 2007
    3
    Too slow and boring. I didn't care about the characters. Why was it called The Painted Veil. It just didn't do it for me.
  45. MarianneH.
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    A beautiful love story set in 1925 China with breath-taking nature and exotic production and costume design. A feast for the eyes and the heart. Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are both excellent and together create lovely onscreen chemistry.
  46. Nathan
    Dec 21, 2006
    8
    Saw this last night at a screening. What a remarkable and subtle film. It delves deep into classic hollywood and pulls off a melodramatic story with great aplumb. The acting was excellent. Naomi Watts is especially moving and Edward Norton puts meat to a character that, in the novel, had none. I was startled by how beautiful the film was. The scenery is gorgeous and the music becomes Saw this last night at a screening. What a remarkable and subtle film. It delves deep into classic hollywood and pulls off a melodramatic story with great aplumb. The acting was excellent. Naomi Watts is especially moving and Edward Norton puts meat to a character that, in the novel, had none. I was startled by how beautiful the film was. The scenery is gorgeous and the music becomes almost another character. Expand
  47. SteandricD.
    Dec 17, 2006
    10
    Avery good movie with excellent acting and great cinematography. Naomi Watts should be nominated for the Academy Award.
  48. RichardM.
    Dec 15, 2006
    10
    Best movie of the year. best performance by naomi watts and edward norton. it should be a multiple oscar awards winner.
  49. PaulK.
    Dec 13, 2006
    9
    Great film...Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Toby Jones all gave impeccable performances...the final scene wasn't the strongest way to end the film, but an ending nevertheless.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Intelligent scripting, solid thesping and eye-catching location shooting aren't enough to make a compelling modern film of The Painted Veil.
  2. The film is unusual in that it is a co-production with the Chinese. Whatever difficulties this imposed on the Western filmmakers, the reward is a period film that feel authentic to its time and place.
  3. 75
    The Painted Veil has the power and intimacy of a timeless love story. By all means, let it sweep you away.