The Painted Veil vs. Departures

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There's some overlap here, but I won't get swept away by the subtle similarities. Both of these films were surprisingly enjoyable, but, strangely, whenever I think back about them I wonder what it is that I liked about them. I guess with Departures it's the unusual scenario that the film revolves around. With The Painted Veil it's more or less about Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, the former being the best actress I can think of and the latter being the most talented actor, probably. It's funny that I differentiate between best and favourite when it comes to actors (your Albas, your Reynoldses and Evanses are probably my faves when you exclude the high-kickers), but not when it comes to films. I guess it's something to do with giving people credit for their skills.