The Painted Veil Reviews

  • 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.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum — Entertainment Weekly

  • The third film iteration of The Painted Veil turns W. Somerset Maugham's distaff bildungsroman into a fine romance.

    Manohla Dargis — New York Times

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

    Peter Bradshaw — Guardian [UK]

  • Norton and Watts are top-notch, as are Schreiber and Toby Jones.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Even amid an atmosphere of human rot, it's too elegant for its own good, a pleasing but pale Merchant-Ivory exercise that reverently strives for a kind of simple redemptive decency that Maugham found less triumphant than this movie does.

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • The Painted Veil lifts Maugham's story clear of its prissy, attenuated spirituality, and into genuine passion.

    Ella Taylor — Village Voice

  • The Painted Veil may begin too slowly, but it also ends too soon.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • In The Painted Veil, terrific actors give glum performances.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • Its strength lies in its patience -- and its slow, melting sorrow that hints at atonement.

    Amy Biancolli — Houston Chronicle

  • The filmmakers are mindful of the challenges inherent in filming Maugham's novel. But The Painted Veil never fully finesses the novel's 1920s attitudes toward its ethnic others.

    Lisa Kennedy — Denver Post

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

    David Edelstein — New York Magazine

  • [Director] Curran has crafted a film that accomplishes so much. It not only draws us into this personal drama between his two principal actors, but also sets it all against a vibrant background of an ancient civilization struggling to become modern.

    Bill Zwecker — Chicago Sun-Times

  • The acting is quite splendid, especially in the vicinity of the quite splendid Watts.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • 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), and there are sturdy performances by Anthony Wong, Toby Jones, and Diana Rigg.

    Andrea Gronvall — Chicago Reader

  • The Painted Veil is rich with history and heartbreak. It's stirring stuff.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Stunning locations, a story with strong emotional, physical and spiritual conflicts, and a first-rate cast.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • The film manages to be a lush period piece, a love story, an examination of culture clash and a slow revelation of character emerging from stunted emotion.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • All this comes from a novel by Somerset Maugham, although the movie leaves out most of the complexities of the book to focus on the single-minded venom of the marriage.

    Richard Nilsen — Arizona Republic

  • The Painted Veil tells a mesmerizing story while honoring all of the classic traditions of superior filmmaking -- a magnificent accomplishment that will haunt you long after it ends.

    Rex Reed — New York Observer

  • Intelligent scripting, solid thesping and eye-catching location shooting aren't enough to make a compelling modern film of The Painted Veil

    Todd McCarthy — Variety

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