The Painted Veil - "It was silly of us to look for qualities in each other that we never had."
Edward Norton and Naomi Watts have given amazing performances throughout their careers. They haven't been as active in this decade but in the 2000s they totally crushed it, I think it would be easy to agree their best movies are from the 2000s, in Norton's case there are even a few great ones from the late 90s.
This film is from 2006 and we have these 2 well-known names portraying a young couple under troublesome circumstances. This couple is newly married, they didn't even know each other in the beginning of the movie and they quickly got together. The first problem is that the woman isn't really attracted to this man, she only decides to partner up with him because she was getting old and there was some pressure from her family, especially her mom, to get herself together and begin a life of her own.
This man, a doctor, conveniently appears to fix this personal issue of her. He, on the other hand, is indeed in love with her. Due to his work, they need to go to China where he investigates microbes and diseases. Since the movie is set in 1925 the pandemic or at least the epidemic in China is cholera, very different from the current chinese virus.
The movie is a drama where this couple tries to deal with their relationship issues in a foreign country while facing a complicated situation caused by the cholera outbreak. Both performances were good, as well as the setting. Since the story takes place in rural China, we will see beautiful scenery and a lot of natural landscapes. There is a part where some dangerous hostility is endured, but the intensity of this part of the plot wasn't that much.
In order to enjoy this film, you must enjoy the drama genre. This movie has a little bit of romance but not too much so don't expect anything romantic. I think that most people that enjoyed the Little Women movie will probably enjoy this one as well.
Also, at times the dysfunctionalities between the 2 main characters were similar to the ones between Scarlet Johansson's and Giovanni Ribisi's characters in Lost in Translation. I mean, the guy focused on his job and the girl feeling alone for hours and hours. There are major differences as well that explain what they are in that state, but I guess this comparison can help in knowing what type of interaction we will see in this film. It is also true their relationship changes in the final third.
- Good performances from the 2 main characters.
- Great scenery showing rural China.
- The drama parts were underwhelming. Perhaps this was because the nature of Norton's character is that of a very quiet, calm, and sometimes even passive individual.
- The film felt bland but the plot had the potential to be much better and intense.
More information: https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/14202-the-painted-veil
In numbers: 7/10