Skip to main content

Movie Review: The Painted Veil

I am a sucker for love stories. I am a special sucker when love happens between 2 people that don't seem to be able to stand one another. Isn't that essentially what happens in Pride and Prejudice?

In The Painted Veil, Kitty (Naomi Watts), a beautiful, vivacious girl from a moderately wealthy family agrees to marry Walter (Edward Norton), a serious doctor. You couldn't find a seemingly more mismatched pair. Kitty likes to play games, especially tennis and cards. She likes dances and the theater. Walter has a scientific, rational mind, and shows little interest in emotion or passion or any kind. He is a bacteriologist (he informs Kitty) and is leaving for Shanghai the next day. Of course, we know it's always those quiet ones . . .

Walter believes he can make Kitty happy in the typical way men think they can. Give them pretty things and an occasional fun night out, and they'll be happy. A fun girl like Kitty wants companionship, something the doctor lacks experience in. She might have allowed him to make her happy if he wasn't such a bore. Even I found this doctor boring, and I am an Edward Norton fan. Divorce was not an option in those days, so she begins an affair with the more suave politician (Liev Schreiber).

When Walter discovers the infidelity, he gives Kitty and ultimatum: come with him to an agricultural town that is suffering from a cholera epidemic or he will divorce her in a public humiliating fashion.
Option 2 is no option for Kitty. She would return to her parent's house ashamed with no hopes of escape. She chooses to follow Walter although she realizes she'll probably die from cholera. What Walter hopes to accomplish by doing this is unclear. Maybe he's trying to punish Kitty or himself. Maybe he couldn't think of going alone no matter how despicable the company might be. These two treat each other with a casual indifference one reserves for small garden worms.

Whatever his intent, Kitty is utterly miserable in her new home, a barren looking landscape with no companionship. Stuck at home with nothing to do, she chooses to put her hands to work in the same hospital her husband labors each day. And so they begin to notice things about one another. He is good with babies. She plays beautiful music that makes the orphans smile. He is working hard to save people's lives. She is a girl with no fear of death.

And they finally love for the same reason that Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy finally do: they realize the inherent goodness and bravery in the other person and cling to it like a lifeboat. When you live through a tragic situation, you see what a person is really made of.

The foggy, haunting setting in agrarian China is an appropriate backdrop for this love story. The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer echoes the lush landscape.


Popular posts from this blog

Border (2018): A Dark Swedish Fairy Tale

Have you ever felt like you are alone? Like you exist and move around in a community of people that you are nothing like?

Imagine how Tina feels. She works as a highly competent border guard for the sole reason that her sense of smell is extrasensory. She can smell fear, shame, and any negative emotion on people as they cross through her security area, and she is never wrong about her suspicions. Her work career, however, might be the only thing she has going for her.

She lives on the outskirts of town with a boyfriend that owns a pack of dogs, and from all counts, they live together in a loveless domestic arrangement that is hard to imagine either of them conceiving. Things become a little clearer later as we learn that Tina owns the home and the boyfriend is enjoying the luxury of living rent free. Tina appears to have no family except for the man she calls father, who claims to have adopted her.

Tina is unattractive by human standards and is most often seen staring attentively and …

Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014) and Lessons About Marriage

Gone Girl is a book-to-movie project that only took 2 years to complete, compared to most movie projects, which take an average of four years (Maze Runner, Twilight, and Hunger Games are all examples of this). Once I heard the movie was being released, I re-read the book in anticipation of the movie release. I have to say, the book was outstanding. I work at a library, and many people were checking out this book. Sometimes I am slow to pick up a hot book, just because I can be stubborn. The book took a genre like suspense, and took it to the new level. The book changes viewpoints and storytelling strategies so many times, and just as you think you have finally predicted the ending, it ends in a way that no one could possibly expect.

Only recently did I find a book that compares called The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, released two years after Gone Girl. Suffice it to say, I am not often enamored with adult fiction. Gone Girl is truly special.

I went into the movie with high hopes, but also r…

The Tradition of the Annual Debbie Macomber Christmas Book

My tradition of reading the annual Debbie Macomber Christmas romance novel started like any tradition does -- by my doing something one time, enjoying, and repeating the experience each year. Before you know it, the repeated action becomes a tradition, and you can't imagine life without it. I don't read any other Macomber novels, but I do read her Christmas books. I normally finish them on the 90 minute flight home.

If you aren't familiar with Macomber's line of Christmas books, let's just say they are similar to a Hallmark movie experience. There is always a smart, savvy female who is stubborn and a rugged curmudgeonly man, often the type that would reside in isolation, in Alaska, for instance. He is normally wealthy, and she normally has a career and feels torn by her feelings. The two fight their attraction but, by the end, they just can't help themselves and fall in love. 
I believe my first Debbie Macomber Christmas book was her 2003 The Snow Bride. Just …