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The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil is a 2006 movie starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton based on a novel by Somerset Maugham. It portrays a beautiful London socialite's marriage of convenience to a shy bacteriologist and the gradual transformation of their relationship from indifference and dislike into deep and abiding love and affection.

 

Articles on The Painted Veil
When Marriage becomes Romance describes how a woman’s formal marriage compelled by social pressure evolves into a passionate psychological relationship as she discovers deeper human values of goodness and love in the man she married but never loved. See the article and videos.
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Plot Summary

Shallow and lost, Kitty marries the intellectual and passionate Walter Fane, a bacteriologist on leave from the Far East shortly after meeting him at a party. They are so opposite to each other in nature, Walter being an earnest, socially awkward bacteriologist and Kitty, a vivacious and vain London socialite. Kitty enters into this loveless marriage with him at the urging of her domineering mother. Following a honeymoon in Venice, the couple goes to Shanghai, where the doctor is stationed in a government lab studying infectious diseases.

Kitty meets Charles Townsend, a married British vice consul, and the two engage in a clandestine affair. When Walter discovers his wife's infidelity, he seeks to punish her by threatening to divorce her on the grounds of adultery if she doesn't accompany him to a small village in a remote area of China, where he has volunteered to treat victims of an unchecked cholera epidemic sweeping through the area. Kitty begs to be allowed to divorce him quietly and he agrees, provided Townsend will leave his wife Dorothy and marry her. When she proposes this possibility to her lover, he declines to accept, and she is compelled to travel to the mountainous inland region with her husband. They embark upon an arduous, two-week-long overland journey that would be considerably faster and much easier if they traveled by river, but Walter is determined to make Kitty as unhappily uncomfortable as possible. Upon their arrival in Mei-tan-fu, she is distressed to discover they will be living in near squalor, far removed from everyone except their cheerful neighbor Waddington, a British deputy commissioner living with a young Chinese woman in relative opulence.

Walter and Kitty barely speak to each other and, except for a cook and a Chinese soldier assigned to guard her, she is alone for long hours. After visiting an orphanage run by a group of French nuns, Kitty volunteers her services, and she is assigned to work in the music room. She is surprised to learn her husband loves children from the Mother Superior, and in this setting she begins to see him in a new light as she learns what a selfless and caring person he can be. He in turn realizes she is not the shallow, selfish person he thought her to be when he sees her with the children. As Walter's anger and Kitty's unhappiness subside, their marriage begins to blossom. She soon learns she is pregnant, but is unsure who the father is. Walter – in love with Kitty again – assures her it doesn't matter. Just as the local cholera problem is coming under control, ailing refugees from elsewhere pour into the area, forcing Walter to set up a camp outside town. He contracts the disease and Kitty nurses him but he dies, devastating his expectant wife. Five years later, while shopping with her young son Walter in London, Kitty meets Townsend on the street. He suggests the two get together but she rejects his overtures and walks away, telling her son Townsend is "no one important" when he asks who he is.

 

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The Painted Veil
Directed by John Curran
Written by Somerset Maugham (novel), Ron Nyswaner (screenplay)
Starring Edward Norton as Walter Fane,Naomi Watts as Kitty Garstin Fane,      
Liev Schreiber as Charles Townsend
Copyright belongs to Warner Pictures

 

 

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When Marriage becomes Romance

 

More often than not love at first sight turns out to be infatuation with an illusion that quickly turns sour or ends in utter disillusionment, like Elizabeth Bennet's brief romance with the handsome, charming, and totally unscrupulous Mr. Wickham in Pride & Prejudice. More rarely an initial dislike or indifference is transformed by closer intimacy into a deep and abiding love and affection as Elizabeth eventually found with Mr. Darcy. A similar transformation is portrayed in The Painted Veil, a 2006 movie starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton based on a novel by Somerset Maugham.

Until recently marriage has been a physical and social necessity for most women and love, a luxury to be pursued in dreams or secret rendezvous away from public view. Kitty's wedding to Dr. Walter Fane was destined to be precisely such a marriage of necessity. Kitty was a pretty but aging socialite with an empty head and trivial interests under pressure to marry and leave the shelter and support of her parents. Resigned to an unfulfilling marriage to a stiff and awkward stranger, she accepted the proposal of Dr. Fane, who sought to marry quickly and carry his bride with him back to his assignment in Shanghai during the 1920s.

Kitty quickly became bored of a reclusive life with an introverted physician among the British upper class in China, until she met and began an elicit affair with Walter's friend Charilie Townsend, a handsome, married British diplomat responsible for governing the region. Inexperienced Kitty thought herself in love and believed Charlie was too, until Walter discovered their affair and threatened her with divorce. When Kitty asked Charlie to divorce his own wife and marry her, she quickly discovered that his affections were limited to the time they spent in bed together.

In order to escape the public disgrace of his wife's conduct and to punish her for her betrayal, Walter accepted a dangerous assignment as medical officer in a rural Chinese village stricken by cholera. Dragging Kitty along with him, he transported her to a land far from the modern world with even less outlet for her restlessness and her need for trivial amusement. Walter plunged himself into the midst of an unfolding medical tragedy, risking his life every day to nurse dying patients and discover means to stop the spread of the disease. In doing so he won the admiration of the local population, but became more and more estranged from his own wife.

Finally Kitty could bear the pain of isolation and boredom no more. She set forth into the disease-ridden town and offered her services at a local Catholic convent run by English missionaries. Encountering disease, danger and death for the first time in her life, she felt the total inadequacy and meaninglessness of her own existence. At the same time, she began to see her husband in a different light, as a man of strength, courage and innate goodness. Goodness was not a quality she had ever prized in a man before, but here in the face of life's most extreme challenges, she came to deeply admire and respect her husband and yearn for reconciliation with him. Fane noticed the change in her and admired her courage in venturing out among the sick.

Gradually the barriers of indifference, resentment, and distrust dissolved and they discovered a depth of mutual admiration and affection neither had believed possible for them. In spite of the horrible circumstances, they enjoyed a few moments of intense delight together. Then as the epidemic spread, Fane came down with cholera and eventually died in his wife's loving arms.

Kitty returned to London where she gave birth to a son. A few years later, walking in the city she encounters Charlie Townsend. For a moment Charlie's hopes are kindled of another romantic encounter, before he realizes his hope is futile. Kitty is no longer the silly, meaningless spoiled girl he had known in Shanghai. She has experienced life, discovered true goodness and felt what it is to truly love.

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The Notebook

The Notebook An old man spends his idle time in a nursing home reading a love story to an old woman with Alzheimer's disease who has lost her memory and forgotten her family and her life, but listens with rapt attention to the old man's narrative. The story he relates exemplifies romantic love in its purest and most powerful form, a love born in youth and sustained for decades.

 

Articles on The Notebook
Eternal romance is not mere fantasy. Attaining that intensity requires a purity of aspiration that is willing to give up everything else combined with a capacity to give oneself in joyous love and ask nothing in return. Read about it in details and watch the videos in the article Love that lasts
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Plot Summary

In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke (James Garner) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient (Gena Rowlands). From a faded notebook, the old man's words bring to life the story about a couple who is separated by World War II, and is then passionately reunited, seven years later, after they have taken different paths.

The story begins in 1940 when as teenagers, Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) begin a whirlwind courtship that soon blossoms into tender intimacy. The young couple is quickly separated by Allie's upper-class parents who insist that Noah isn't right for her. Several years pass, and, when they meet again, their passion is rekindled, forcing Allie to choose between her soul mate and class order. The film goes back to the elderly couple, and Duke asks Allie, the old woman who she chose. She soon realizes the answer herself; young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel and chosen Noah. They embrace in reunion.

The old woman was deeply moved by the old man's narrative. Suddenly she realized that the story was one she had heard before, it was her own story and the man who read it to her was Noah. For five minutes they enjoyed the intensity of emotional reunion before she lapsed back into self-forgetfulness once again. She herself had written it down when she realized she was losing her memory and had made Noah promise to read it in the hope of bringing her back. For months Noah had been reading her the story daily. She had forgotten her children and grandchildren and could not recognize them, but the story in the notebook brought back momentarily the most sacred emotions of her life. At first her recovery came every few days, then every few weeks. Now it had been months since she had last remembered. But for those few brief minutes they both relived freshly with the original intensity the love they had felt for each other the first summer they met. In one such moment of lucidity, she asked Noah whether they might die together and the next morning they were discovered lying motionless next to one another in bed.

 

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The Notebook Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Written by Nicholas Sparks (novel), Jan Sardi (adaptation), Jeremy Leven (screenplay)
Starring Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun, Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton,
James Garner as Duke, Gena Rowlands as Allie Calhoun

Copyright belongs to New Line Cinema

 

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The Story of Us

The Story of Us This movie depicts a turbulent period in the 15 year marriage of a middle class suburban couple in the process of divorce over irreconcilable differences. While carrying through with their resolution, they revive past memories and rediscover the deeper layer of emotional bonding which brought them together in the first place.

 

Articles on The Story of Us

Ben and Katie’s relationship is an excellent example of Vital Attraction Level 4 in the Scale of Romance. See the article and videos.

After 15 years of marriage their relationship had arrived at a point where the very attributes that originally gave liveliness and joy to the relationship have become a source of friction, tension and frequent quarrels. This is an example of how relationships are marred by Conflict – Level 2 in the Scale of Harmony . See the article and videos.

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Plot Summary

The Story of Us is the very real and humorous examination of Ben and Katie Jordan's marriage. After 15 years, the couple is wrestling with the universal paradox: why are the qualities that made them fall in love in the first place now the very things pulling them apart? Katie Jordan is the designated driver of the marriage. She likes having everything in its place, knowing that there are answers to the little questions and having a sense of closure. Her career as a crossword-puzzle designer fulfills her need to know that the little world on that half page is complete. And this is why Katie fell in love with Ben's imagination, spontaneity and playfulness.

Ben Jordan, a writer, is a true romantic who believes in happy endings. But life demands some attention to details, and Ben doesn't know where the medicines are and he lets his washer-fluid light blink incessantly red. Ben's philosophy, as Katie describes it, is comparable to the children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon. Harold is a little boy who draws the world the way he wants it to be and not the way it actually is. Initially they were attracted to one another because they were so very different. Then they had arrived at a point where the very attributes that originally gave liveliness and joy to the relationship have become a source of friction, tension and frequent quarrels. Emotionally drained from their relationship, the Jordans attempt a trial separation while their children, Josh, 12, and Erin, 10, are away at summer camp. For both Ben and Katie, fighting has lately become the condition rather than the exception, and they believe that their only option is a silent retreat to neutral corners.

While carrying out that decision they discover a deeper layer of emotional attachment which they cherish and are unwilling to give up. They recognize that their differences represent strengths by which they complement and complete one another. They realize that in the course of living their lives they had forgotten that their relationship and their children are more important than anything else. Ultimately familiarity, friendship, trust and love of their children prevail and they decide to remain together.

 

 

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The Story of Us
Directed by Rob Reiner
Written by Alan Zweibel & Jessie Nelson
Starring Bruce Willis as Ben Jordan, Michelle Pfeiffer as Katie Jordan                                                                  
Copyright belongs to Castle Rock Entertainment

 

 

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Definitely Maybe

Definitely Maybe The subtle differences between physical and vital attraction, emotional compatibility and romantic love are beautifully illustrated in this story of a handsome young man's love affairs with three lovely women.

 

Articles on Definitely Maybe
The basis of Will’s relationship with the 3 attractive women is analysed in this article on Love, Romance, Sex & Marriage. See the article and videos.
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Plot Summary

Will Hayes, a thirty-something married dad, has just received his divorce papers when his 10 year old daughter, Maya, starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will's story begins in 1992, as a young, starry-eyed aspiring politician who moves to New York from Wisconsin in order to work on the Clinton campaign. For Maya, Will relives his past as an idealistic young man learning the ins and outs of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with three very different women. Will attempts to narrate the story for his daughter with names changed so Maya has to guess who he finally married.

Will's first love is Emily, lovely co-ed at the University of Wisconsin who he regards as his future wife. He leaves Emily to spend the summer in New York working as a volunteer in Bill Clinton's election campaign, where he meets April, who is making photocopies in the same office. Summer is an old friend of Emily's aspiring to become a political columnist. Will spends the next decade trying to figure out which of the three he really loves.Emily visits New York, and Will proposes in Central Park, but Emily turns him down and confesses she slept with Will's former roommate in Wisconsin. Will is heartbroken. If Emily represents the attractions of a near-perfect wife, Summer was every man's dream of a perfect love affair. Beautiful, intelligent, sexually alluring and aggressive, she took Will's breath away. After a brief period of ecstatic sexual intimacy, he felt hopelessly in love and determined to propose. The very day he planned to give her an engagement ring, Summer published an article exposing the indiscretions of the politician Will was trying to get elected and trashing all hopes for the campaign, for Will's career and for his relationship with Summer. They both realized that Summer was not a woman who needed or could settle down in a permanent relationship. She enjoys freedom too much. Her first priority is her own career. Will walked away furious and deeply disappointed.

He found April extremely attractive but he always felt that intimacy between them would be impossible, because they were so very different and opposite in many respects. They seemed to constantly challenge each other's beliefs and values. After Summer refused him when he proposed, Will got drunk and found the courage to confess to April that he loved her. Clearly moved and deeply in love with Will, April refused to take him on the rebound and told him to get his life together. Sometime later Will meets Emily again, marries and lives with her until Maya is 10 years old. Although they are both good, pleasant people and like each other, the elusive magic of romantic love did not outlast the initial period of infatuation. They never had a serious problem, but something essential was missing. What they had might have been more than enough for a normally successful marriage, but not for someone seeking real romance. Listening to Will's story, Maya perceived what Will had never understood. All the time his real love had been April, only he had been too frightened to admit he loved someone he believed would never accept him. At Maya's insistence, they call on April and the truth of their love for one another becomes evident.

 

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Definitely Maybe
Directed by Adam Brookes
Written by Adam Brookes
Starring Ryan Reynolds as Will Hayes, Isla Fisher as April, Abigail Breslin as Maya Hayes,
Elizabeth Banks as Emily, Rachel Weisz as Summer Hartley
Copyright belongs to Universal Pictures

 

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