Learning to Love
This is a beautifully crafted film, with strong acting by the cast. The story is one of adoration and love on one side, with careless acceptance of that love and then betrayal on the other.
Kitty (Naomi Watts) is the wayward daughter of two stuffy parents who have a disapproving air towards her. She marries Walter (Edward Norton) a bacteriologist, in a fit of bravado. Walter is in love, but inhibited and to Kitty not exciting enough. Through Walter's work, they travel to Shanghai and meet Charlie (Liev Schreiber) who begins a torrid affair with Kitty. Walter discovers her betrayal and in a fit of anger and disgust, takes them both to a far outpost, and a primitive existence near a convent there; the area is rife with disease and contaminated water.
The cinematography is splendid and emotive, showing the grandeur of China with its mists and mountains. The two strong leads are more than ably assisted by Toby Jones as Waddington, and Diana Rigg as the Mother Superior of the convent. Costuming is evocative of that time in the 1920's when for women, clothes were simple and elegant. Naomi Watts looks lovely and somehow frail, while Edward Norton's Walter slowly emerges into a more aware and accepting husband, and strangely becomes more visually handsome in the process.
This is a film which will remain in the mind long after the DVD has been put away. It is a film, too, which will be played again with just as much pleasure.