The Painted Veil (2006)

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Director: John Curran

Writer: W. Somerset Maugham (novel), Ron Nyswaner (screenplay)

Cast: Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zoe Telford, Liev Schreiber, Toby Jones

Synopsis: A couple with a broken relationship learns some valuable lessons about love, life, and sacrifice in this romantic drama based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It's 1925, and Dr. Walter Fane (Edward Norton) is a physician and bacteriologist who has become smitten with Kitty (Naomi Watts), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy and socially prominent family. Walter proposes marriage to Kitty and she accepts; however, while he clearly loves her, Kitty is more interested in her reputation than Walter's feelings, as she's recently turned 25, an age by which most of her peers have already wed.

Kitty and Walter move to Shanghai, where he sets up a practice and she takes a lover, the British Vice Consul Charles Townsend (Liev Schreiber). When Walter learns of his wife's infidelity, he becomes furious, and impulsively volunteers to travel to China to work in a village stricken with a major cholera epidemic. While Walter's actions are meant to punish Kitty rather than reflect his own benevolence, the daily trials of living in a community in crisis have a striking impact on the couple, giving them a new and deeper perspective on their relationship.


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