Thursday, January 18, 2007

movie minute

Veiled Love: Another adaptation from a book. This time it's W. Somerset Maugham's 1925 novel The Painted Veil(PG-13). After discovering an affair his wife is having, bacteriologist Walter Fane decides to go to China and help fight a cholera epidemic. He forces his wife, Kitty, to come with him or he will divorce her and name her lover as a defendant. Forced with either possible death or shame, Kitty decides to go with her husband. In flashbacks we see how the two met and how devoted and loving Walter was with Kitty even as Kitty practically willed herself not to love Walter. Maugham discovered a story before Veil was written of a husband who suspected his wife of adultery and decided to take her to a castle in the Maremma, where he hopes the noxious fumes will kill her. Eventually he has her thrown out of a window because she takes so long to die. He should have just killed her in the first place but didn't want to on account of her family. The story in Veil is not that gruesome but was the starting point for the story.

The story is set in the 1920's and as the cholera takes more lives, the couple is forced to rediscover each other; both in their own way. The acting between Edward Norton (Walter) and Naomi Watts (Kitty) is really good and the characters are extremely faithful to the novel. The director, John Curran, does a remarkable job of fleshing out the rather thin novel. The film also includes Toby Jones, who did a better Truman Capote than Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie Infamous.

The movie, filmed in China, is picturesque and resplendent. Again the ending is more upbeat and dramatic than the one in the book. During filming of the movie, Liev Schreiber (who plays the other man, Charlie Townsend) and Watts met and have since become a couple. It also took a number of years to get this film made because Norton wanted Watts to play the leading lady but had to wait till her schedule wasn't so busy.

It's a love story set amidst an epidemic and spot on acting.


Bags of popcorn (out of 5): 3.75

I'm making some predictions about Oscar nominations even though the movie garnered no major Golden Globe nominations. Here goes....

Best Director
Best Adapted screenplay
Best Actress-Watts

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