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

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Universal acclaim- based on 110 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] Expand
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. Mar 6, 2014
    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. Expand
  2. Mar 18, 2012
    Excellent, emotionally moving story. The intellectual growth of the main character is nicely portrayed. Gorgeous scenery perfectly, profesionally captured. Expand
  3. May 24, 2013
    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. Expand
  4. Jun 18, 2014
    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 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
  5. Apr 7, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. 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