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The subject of one of Johannes Vermeer's most enduring portraits becomes the focus of this biographical period piece from director Peter Webber. Girl With a Pearl Earring is told from the point of view of Griet (Scarlett Johansson), a teenaged girl who leaves her family's care in the country to become a servant for the Vermeer household in the comparatively bustling, canal-laden burgh of Delft. When she arrives, she finds herself at the low end of the servant totem pole, until she's allowed to clean "the master's" painting quarters. There, she catches the eye of the taciturn, reclusive Vermeer (Colin Firth), and over a period of time, he begins to craft her portrait. Of course, this does little to further his relationship with his jealous, pregnant wife, Catharina (Essie Davis), or with his most vocal benefactor, van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson), who often dictates what portraits Vermeer should paint. Meanwhile, Griet navigates a sweet, tentative relationship with a peasant boy her age (Cillian Murphy). Girl With a Pearl Earring had its North American premiere at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 174
- Fresh: 125
- Rotten: 49
- Average Rating: 6.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: A rare and elegant film bathed in the kind of soft, delicate light that can build unexpectedly to feelings of both anxiety and bliss.
Rotten: A virtual ricochet-fest of eyeball action. Those looks, those glares, those gapes, those gawks!
Fresh: Girl With a Pearl Earring brilliantly captures the texture of ordinary life.
Fresh: To earn its props, a period film must resonate in our time. A movie about art doubles that demand. Webber has delivered the goods and then some.
One of Scarlet's Best
This has to be one of Scarlet’s best performances. She says little in the entire film, but her "IT" girl magic is more than enough to captivate. Being a period piece set in a foreign country, it requires some extra work to appreciate. The cinematography is beautiful and direction very fine. Some may find the pacing a tad slow to contemporary standards, but the story of forbidden love, set against class stratification is very moving. In addition, it helps to have Scarlet gazing directly into the camera will her soulful eyes….you can’t resist for long.
This film was a film that I had known but always avoided. When Scarlett Johansson was starting to turn into a A-List Hollywood actress I watched her powerful performances in "Lost in Translation" and "Match Point" and so on. They were all excellent performances so then I decided to watch this film. At 1st it was slow but then I caught up to the hype. The film had excellent acting (Johansson, Firth), direction (Peter Weber), and costume design. This film is worth seeing considering that Johansson was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama at a young age of her carrer. Also, it was nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography).The film captivates, enthrawls and tantalizes the audience to know more of Johansson's character and the story. This is a must-see film and a favorite of my as a Johansson fan. Buy It!!! (Believe me, i'm a sixteen year teenager. I really wrote this)
You Don't Have to be an Art Historian to Enjoy...
This movie is not as artsy as it looks/sounds. It is simply a 'good movie.' Good acting and dialog combined with a very interesting set. You may learn a little bit about art as well. But, that is just a bonus. I highly recommend this movie.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2004
- © Archer Street (Girl) Ltd. 2003. All Rights Reserved.