Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 111 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham and set against the visually stunning backdrop of China during one of its most dramatic periods of upheaval, The Painted Veil tells a unique love story of an estranged husband and wife who find redemption and unexpected grace in a very unlikely place. [Warner Independent Pictures] Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. The year's best romantic drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The Painted Veil is a welcome addition to the slate of holiday movies, particularly for those drawn to intriguing tales of multi-dimensional characters in exotic settings.
  3. 75
    The Painted Veil has the power and intimacy of a timeless love story. By all means, let it sweep you away.
  4. This handsome period drama is a big step up for director John Curran (We Don't Live Here Anymore), who shot in China with predominantly Chinese crews. Norton and Schreiber seem too American to be English colonials, but Watts navigates a challenging transformation (in a role first played by Greta Garbo in 1934.
  5. 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.
  6. 63
    Curran is a talented director, especially where his actors are concerned. His previous movie, "We Don't Live Here Anymore," an adaptation of two Andre Dubus stories, was another literary adultery drama featuring Watts. The Painted Veil doesn't achieve the fire that characterized that film.
  7. The result is a movie that feels weirdly disconnected from reality.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 49
  2. Negative: 3 out of 49
  1. wendys
    May 2, 2009
    Incredible movie. One of the best I've seen. Beautiful imagery and moving stoy. I loved this one.
  2. SeanM.
    Sep 18, 2007
    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. Expand
  3. IanB
    Apr 12, 2009
    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. Expand
  4. PaulK.
    Dec 13, 2006
    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. Expand
  5. JasonP.
    Feb 25, 2008
    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? Expand
  6. SarahM
    Nov 18, 2007
    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. Expand
  7. May 28, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 49 User Reviews