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Movie Review: The Painted Veil

Alternate Title: Love in the Time of Cholera

Story: The third screen adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's novel is a charm. Is it a great film? Sadly, no. However, director John Curran (We Don't Live Here Anymore) and screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia), have done an admirable job of bringing back the feel of the classic Hollywood romance film in fine fashion.

It is 1925 in the interior of China where bacteriologist, Dr. Walter Fane, has brought his spoiled, unfaithful wife, Kitty, with him to his new job in order to fight a growing cholera epidemic.

Can a loveless marriage be saved? Can a shallow flapper become a person of worth by volunteering in an orphanage? Do good works create character? Can Kitty and Walt ever forgive one another? Will the imperialist British be appreciated? These timeless questions will all be worked out in two hours.

This is the first American funded film that was made in China in a very long time. Kudos to producers Naomi Watts and Edward Norton for holding firm on there commitment not to recreate China but instead, to film in the real gorgeous mountainous interior. They even found a village that represents the China of 1925 well. Yes, the censors followed them around but the cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh was well worth the effort.

The film moves along with few surprises but if you like beauty, good acting and a film about forgiveness - than this one is for you.

Acting: Naomi Watts is wonderful, as always, as the spoiled Kitty. Edward Norton never misses a beat and is one of the finest actors around today. Liev Schreiber, Toby Jones and an almost unrecognizableDiana Rigg are first rate too.

Predilection: None

Critters: Oxen, chickens and horses.

Food: Chinese food

Opening Titles: Simple type over film footage of early 20th century China.

Visual Art: The glorious countryside of China.

Theater Audience: A handful of folk.

Weather: It was hot in China.

Sappy Factor: 2

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Cholera is not pretty.

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch after 90 minutes.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I welled at the end.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen to enjoy the grandeur. Edward Norton is a fine actor. Here are some of my favorite films of his: The Illusionist, The Italian Job, 25th Hour, Frida, The Score, Keeping the Faith, Fight Club, American History X, Rounders, Everyone Says I Love You, The People vs. Larry Flynt and the great Primal Fear

Length: Two hours