The Painted Veil conveys a disappointing message about religion, however.  On the one hand, we hear of the singular dedication of a missionary family who perished from cholera.  We also see true forgiveness and reconciliation in action.  But, from a faith perspective, the mother superior recounts how God has disappointed with his silence, mirroring Kitty’s relationship with Walter.  As a result, the nun says, their relationship has become one of duty without love.

Thus, without anything to counteract this message, the film seems to say that real passion can only be found in human relationships.  It’s a sad statement that will no doubt resonate for many—especially those whose only experience of God is religion, rather than relationship. 

But what believers know—and what the mother superior fails to convey, however—is the promise, experienced by so many others, that God longs to meets us not when we fulfill spiritual obligations for him, but rather, when we cry out and embrace him on his terms. 

AUDIENCE:  Very mature teens and adults


  • None


  • Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking in numerous scenes; brief drug use in one; couple refers to their "hangovers" in another.
  • Language/Profanity: A few mild and/or “British” profanities.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: Various depictions of adultery and marital sexual situations, including brief nudity (upper rear female nudity and male rear nudity).
  • Violence: Various depictions of disease, death and suffering, as well as life-threatening street violence.