Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 31, 2010

Love in the time of cholera

Filed under: Have you seen this? — Rajeev @ 3:00 am

Like most people I know, I too am a sucker for romantic films that are intelligent and original, or just plain convincing. But I think that’s a genre that’s over-exhausted and over-exploited because it’s become so increasingly difficult to find a really good love story these days.

The last one I saw is a beautiful and sweeping romance called The Painted Veil; it’s a film based on Somerset Maugham’s novel and it’s already been filmed twice before. But the version I’m talking about is the one starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts in central roles.

Set in the 1920s, the story is basically about the moral awakening of this restless, vain, young woman who moves to Shanghai with her bacteriologist husband and starts an affair with a married man. When her husband finds out, he takes her along to a far-flung village that’s been plagued by a cholera epidemic. There he pretty much leaves her alone, ignoring her completely while he tends to the ill and the dying.

She is of course, bored and angry, and eventually she helps out at the local convent, where children need to be cared for. Remember, this is China in the mid-20s and this story takes place right at the centre of the uprisings against the British colonial rule. In fact, that tense political climate serves as the backdrop for this romance. It’s here and now that these two people really get to know each other, under these extreme circumstances. It’s here that they gain a newfound respect for each other and eventually they fall in love.

This film is one of those sweeping romances, a truly passionate story. It’s interesting also because how often do you see a love story between a married couple who’re rekindling a romance they never had?

Another reason why this story consumes you is because it’s set against this beautiful yet troubled backdrop of a small Chinese village in the middle of this deadly epidemic. The film is shot beautifully and that’s another factor that adds so much character to the story.

I’ve always been a fan of Edward Norton, and he’s excellent in this film, but The Painted Veil is really Naomi Watts’ film. Not only does she possess a luminous beauty, she’s also such a fine actress – just see how she goes from this despicable girl to a tragic wife in two hours.

If you’re in the mood for a moving, epic romance, don’t miss The Painted Veil.

1 Comment »

  1. I totally agree with you rajeev.. there was a dearth of good romantic movies & The painted veil was like a nice surprise. I saw The American History X just the day before watching The Painted Veil.. & i have becum a fan of Edward Nortan since then… he has beautifully played the 2 different characters in both these movies..
    The Painted Veil’s story is engrossing & one cant wait to watch the lead pair fall in love with each other.
    a must watch !!

    Comment by nidhi — November 20, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

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