Girl With a Pearl Earring
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Product Description

Delft Holland 1665. seventeen-year-old Griet must work to support her family and becomes a maid in the house of Johannes Vermeer where she gradually attracts the master painter s attention. Johannes and Griet must hide their inspiration of each other from his volatile wife Catharine. The wealthy and troublemaking Master van Ruijven senses the intimacy between the artist and his maid and contrives a paintings ever created but at what cost?System Requirements: Running Time 100 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: PG-13 UPC: 012236155225 Manufacturer No: 15522

You wouldn't think a movie could look like a Vermeer painting, but Girl with a Pearl Earring is filmed with an amazing range of luminous glows that evoke the Dutch artist's masterworks. Of course, it helps that much of the movie centers on Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Ghost World), whose creamy skin and full lips have a luminosity of their own. Johansson plays Griet, a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth, Bridget Jones' Diary, Fever Pitch), who finds herself in a web of jealousy, artistic inspiration, and social machinations. Though the pace is slow, Girl with a Pearl Earring genuinely conveys some sense of an artist's process, as well as offering many chaste yet sensual moments between Firth and Johansson. Also featuring Essie Davis as Vermeer's bitter wife and Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) as a wealthy patron with eyes for Griet. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews:

  • Disappointing Ending
    This movie was beautifully done.The scenery was truly lovely.The ending was so abrupt though.It just ends!! Nothing like the ending in the book. so for me that knocks it down a few notches.Scarlet Johanson did a wonderful job however, her face looked like she was always in pain!...more info
  • Girl with the Pearl Earring DVD
    A great movie - bought as a Christmas gift and received in a quick
    manner. The recipient has encouraged me to read the book....more info
  • Girl with a big future...
    Girl with a Pearl Earring not only dazzled me with it's amazing direction but it also opened my eyes to the extream potential of young actress Scarlett Johansson. God knows I'm a big fan, having loved her performances in movies like 'Lost in Translation' and 'Love Song for Bobby Long' but here, in the eyes of Griet, I saw range I didn't know an actress of her age could possess. No wonder she's been nominated FOUR times in the past THREE years at the golden globes...She's amazing. The film centers around Griet, a poor peasent girl in 17th century Holland who must move into and work for a Catholic family since her father can no longer work. She is a hard worker yet critisized harshly due to her masters fondness for her and the families anger towards that. Her master, famous painter Johannes Vermeer, is obviously smitten with her innosence and beauty, but so are others, others who want her for themselves. And then theres Vermeer's wife who is incredibly jealous of Griet as if from day one at that. The film may move slowly but its in order to capture the way things were and the way things needed to be. I felt it was superb, mostly due to the amazing acting on the part of Johansson. I give it 4 1/2* mostly because after you look at Johansson's performance...no one else really stands out. Firth is stiff as a board and boring to say the least, Murphy is decent but it was really this year that he shone as an acter and leading man...it's Davis, the jealous wife, that struck me out of the rest of the cast as noteworthy, mostly due to her outburst towards the climax of the film. Throughout the whole film you see this fear, dread, misery, hatetred in her eyes and it's at the moment she confronts Griet and her husband and her mother about the infamous painting that you see the truth behind those eyes......more info
  • A fascination more than romance - Sadly & Quietly captivating
    I was pleasantly surprised that this period piece fictionalized the "story behind a painting" without the typical need for overt sexual involvement. What I mean by that, is that this book-to-film was more about the understanding between house-maid and artist, not a sexual realtionship...... which was a welcome difference in fictional period films about muses and their masters.

    It is a quietly developing film, neither tedious nor upbeat. The story of Vermeer stays financially and pictorially correct to history - down to the names, scenery, and the likeness of the characters depcited in his true paintings (which was refreshing). The drama of his financial need to stay afloat, while being supported by his mother inlaw, is historically accurate - as well as his patronige with one affluent buyer, keeping the truth of Vermeer's Dutch local fame true to life as well.

    The fictional involvement of Johansson's house-maid character is the meat of the film - but as I said before - I found a serene beauty in her being Vermeer's muse, without either infidelity or even many words being spoken between she and the master painter. It was a fascination on both parts more than a romance. She understood his art; Through his fascination with her she learned/understood light, space and movement, the mixing of pigments and had an appreciation for his art that Vermeer's wife could not compete with or comprehend - causing the main dramas.

    The film is subtlely endearing.... some may find it too slow, but I thought the many quiet moments and unspoken thoughts in this film added to artistic appreciation, instead of plot distraction and chaos. The nasty characters inflict just enough threat to make both painter and maid pitiable in their plight. But overall, you are left with a serenity and sadness for how the painting of the Pearl Earring came about and captivated with the purity of Vermeer's art. ...more info
  • It Doesn't Get Much Prettier Than This
    I may be biased because I love great cinematography and stories about famous painters but, regardless, this is one beautiful DVD!

    It's a slow story but if you can stay with it, this film offers some of the prettiest images I've ever seen on film. Scene after scene looks like a classic painting come to life. Sometimes the cameras stay on subject longer than normal, affording the viewer time to really soak it up.

    Scarlet Johannson says very little but is fascinating to watch. For the first-time viewer, there a tension that builds throughout the film leaving wondering what bad thing is about to happen. The story is not an upbeat one, yet not depressing either.

    This movie inspired me to read the book, and I enjoyed that, too. Either version, you can't go wrong.

    ...more info
  • Lacks direction & context
    Watching this film feels like being a Peeping Tom. One peeks for a moment into the private lives of one household, without any sense of background, or any idea of where their lives are going. Then the moment is over.

    I have not read the book, but from what I understand, the book has considerably more detail in it. This is detail which no doubt helps the reader understand more fully the situations and motives of the various characters. Of necessity, a film adaptation has to omit a lot of detail or risk becoming hopelessly bogged down. However, so much crucial information is left out here that the film achieves a certain weightless quality and simply drifts. I found myself not caring a whit for any of these characters, none of whom could I identify as being even remotely a real person.

    It wasn't a bad film by any means, but it lacked the necessary substance to make a lasting impression. Very attractive, but that was about it for me....more info
  • Girl with the Pearl Earring
    The movie was great. There were no scratches on the DVD and the case was in good condition as well. I would definitely buy from this seller again in the future....more info
  • Do not look for historical accuracy
    This is an interesting costume drama, a speculative movie about the origin of one of Vermeer's works. Unfortunately, the plot is rather unhistorical, as it portrays Vermeer as a man who is quite wealthy, but dependent on the whims of moneyed patrons. In reality, Vermeer inherited his father's tavern/art dealer business. Undoubtedly he spent most of his time and received most of his income from managing the tavern, where, as was often done, he also sold art works (few of them his own), and taking care of his 11 children. The family was probably "middle class", but far from wealthy, as they are portrayed in this film. Vermeer only painted about 40 paintings during his life, with no known royal patrons, so he could hardly have become wealthy at it, as some such as Titian were able to do. The tavern/art dealer business is not presented in this film at all. Nor is there any evidence of problems in the relationship between Vermeer and his wife, as the film depicts. At Vermeer's death, his family was deeply in debt and had to sell some of his paintings....more info
  • Dazzling filmography, not so dazzling script
    Each shot in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is a marvelous tableaux vivant, or living painting. Director Webber works well with his cinematography staff to recreate a believable city of Delft in the time of Vermeer, who painted so few but so beloved treasures of art. His way of glazing light into a frozen moment of time have captivated thousands of museum goers--and Tracy Chevalier wrote a bestselling novel that mixed household jealousies with the difficult life of the artist dependent on patrons.

    What's right about "Earring" is the capturing of the small but vicious dramas in any household. What's wrong is that the beautiful scenes purely about painting and even about the mysteries of grinding and mixing colors are sadly lacking in color. But there are great moments; the performance of Scarlett Johanssen as Griet, the servant girl and model for Vermeer, Judy Parfitt making the most of the role of Maria Thins, Vermeer's brilliant scheming mother-in-law who manages his career. The only scene I thought was ridiculous was the one where Griet, who has avoided getting raped and knocked up by Vermeer's powerful patron, goes off and messes about with her boyfriend the butcher boy. That was a cheap scene and ruined Griet's strength of character.

    Still, the film is worth seeing for the cinematography and the recreation of the world of the 17th Century and the Dutch masters. And for Judy Parfitt and Scarlett Johanssen. ...more info
  • the "feel" of a good movie without being one
    Someone seems to have made the mistake of thinking that if you take great talent, like Vermeer's, and have him portrayed by a normally wonderful actor like Colin Firth, and wrap it all up in a pretty package in the end you will have a great movie. Oops, they forgot the story-they may have thought they had one, but it was completely invisible to me.

    A group of unlikeable and very disinteresting people interacting "mysteriously" about something-or-other. I just lost interest fairly early-on and never could quite take it all in again. I'd rather be sleeping. zzz ...more info
  • A beautiful and moving movie
    "Girl With a Pearl Earring" is a beautiful filmed movie. I watched the movie with a few friends and we'all agree it was a wonderful film. Scarlet Johansson-Gritis sent of to work to help her family financially,Grit is sent to work in the household of a dutch artist Vermeer, who becomes obsessed with grit and she became the subject of a painting, there were sensual moments between grit and vermeer.and there is tension and web of jealously and secrets in the household. read more.This movie is definitely worth seeing....more info
  • Ideal Film for Art History Students
    I feel like this film is perfect to watch, not only for entertainment, but also for education. It is not a biography on Vermeer; it is a portrayal of his life as he painted his most beautiful work. It was interesting to see the scenes where he is extracting colors and mixing his paint, as well as posing Griet for the right lighting etc., because it added to the film real concepts of art and painting....more info
  • A Very Good Movie of a Slightly Better Book
    Based tightly on the Tracy Chevalier novel of the same name, "Girl With a Pearl Earring" is true to the original story, albeit with the scene consolidation and event rearranging required when converting most novels to film. Especially a novel with the nuances and complexities of this one. I should also note that, unlike the book, this film tells the story in the 3rd person. Even so, director Peter Webber does a terrific job of capturing the tension of attraction between master painter Vermeer and the title character, a house maid whom he discovers shares his understanding of and love for the color, light, composition, and even materials of painting. I give him a lot of credit for this because a lesser filmmaker would have made the cheap, easy change to a sexual affair, which would have sold more tickets, but undercut Vermeer's passion for art, ignored the book's core plot, and been much more "expected."

    In addition, the acting is very good across the board. Johansson is terrific throughout, and fulfills the very specific visual demands of the lead role perfectly, as well. Colin Firth hits the nuances that would make or break his role just right. Tom Wilkinson is that mix of handsome sophisticate and creepy slimeball which so many of his roles have called for. And Essie Davis portrays Vermeer's wife so wanly that you won't know whether you want to hug her or slap her.

    Of course, the book has more opportunity to develop scenes, story, and the main character's thinking in detail, but the excellent art direction and photography of the film almost make up for what's lost in the conversion. It's not just that the filming is consistently lush and rich, but that it accurately reflects the way the master painters of Holland painted at the time, right down to the darkness of their homes' interiors. And the sets are incredibly realistic, especially the exteriors featuring the canals. If you watch the "Anatomy of the Scene" extra in the DVD's Special Features (which you should), you'll be amazed at how much of that was built for the film, not just found in some small European town. It genuinely looks 300 years old.

    I also really liked the energy of the film. For a small, dark historical fiction, the tension is everywhere. The previously-mentioned tension between the artist and the maid is just the beginning, more than equalled by tension between artist and patron, between husband and wife, between child and servant, and even the tension of a household struggling to "keep up appearances" while practically broke, in order to bring in more much-needed money. All of which is very nicely accented by a great musical score.

    All in all, it's a quiet, subtle film that is anything but uplifting, but it's executed so well that you really should see it....more info
  • Near-Perfect Adaptation Of An Imaginative Novel
    This entire movie LOOKED like a Vermeer painting brought to life, as if the long-ago figures immortalized by that Dutch master had somehow stepped onscreen. An amazing feat in and of itself. This is a faithful adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's novel of the same name, and it elaborates on what is known (i.e. nothing) about the model in the famous portrait, and in so doing the motion picture crafts an entire backstory to explain the creation of a haunting painting. This movie is also a skilled depiction of life in the Netherlands three and a half centuries ago, during the one and only time that nation was a world power. And let's not forget the fine performances here by Colin Firth, and of course a siren-like and yet skillfully subdued Scarlett Johansson. This is one to see!...more info
  • Superb
    Anyone who knows an artist can readily identify with this film.

    The characters are superbly portrayed. The scenery is historicly accurate, wonderful and a joy to look at. The story is enjoyable.

    A joy to watch for anyone interested in the period.

    Great arts film of a great period artist....more info
  • Beautiful film, but not historical
    The movie was beautiful- stunning and a wonderful success in making a film that looks like a Vermeer paining. Remember, though, that this is an entirely fictional story- conjured in the imagination of Tracy Chevalier. If you are an academic or art history buff, you will be appalled by this totally fictional account that implies a basis in fact. There is no record of a maid named Griet- she is entirely fictional. It is also mean-spirited and unfair to the memory of Vermeer and his wife Catherina, a form of vicious gossip against easy targets- victims who are incapable of defending themselves. The picture painted of the family is that of a nasty wife and mother in law and several spoiled brats in the house of a wimpy painter dependent on his creative talent. Actually, the Vermeers were in more of a lower middle class position and Vermeer's "day job" was as an art dealer. Not the kind of household that would breed the nasty brats the kids were depicted to be. There's no information on these children or their personalities, so why make up such a mean-spirited depiction? Also, the mother in law, Maria Thins, was the victim of domestic abuse by her husband, having been beaten when she was pregnant, dragged out of bed naked when she was sick, and in general lived in humiliation until she escaped. Not consistent with the iron-willed matriarch in the movie. Again, why be so vicious to someone when there's not a shred of evidence that the true person was anything but a decent woman trying to make the best of a very difficult life?

    Not much is known about Vermeer's private life, either, but to the best of current knowledge, he and Catherine were deeply in love throughout their marriage. Vermeer married her despite a conflict of religion, and she gave birth 15 times (several died in infancy), at a time when it was common among the Dutch to practice family planning (generally families had 2 or 3 children). Vermeer did paint Catherina in several of his paintings, and when he died leaving her an enormous debt and eleven children to feed, she fought valiantly to keep his works when, if she were truly greedy and didn't appreciate his art, she could have sold them for quite a bit of money.

    Most academics believe that the girl in "The Art of Painting" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" are the same model- Vermeer's eldest daughter, Maria.

    Some sites to check out:

    http://girl-with-a-pearl-earring.20m.com/Girl_with_a_Pearl%20Earring_The_Young_Girl.htm

    http://www.grin.net/~meluchie/articles/03times1028.html...more info
  • A Work of Art
    Girl with a Pearl Earring is based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier, who tells the story of a forbidden love affair between painting master, Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), and the only woman who seemed to appreciate his work, a timid young maid named Griet (Scarlett Johansson). The two form a silent bond, a love for each other. Johannes appreciates Griet's company as a comfortable contrast to his mother-in-law, children, and especially his wife, who only seem to try to discourage his silly hobbies.
    I was fascinated by this movie. Every scene looked like a painting and they perfectly captured Vermeer's light. I also liked the historical references to how Vermeer liked to paint young people so he could work on big surfaces of colour and avoid the shading wrinkles give. The music was beautiful and gave off a Dutch feeling of the 17th century as it should have. It was a perfect movie for someone interested in art. Others might find it a bit tiring but if you are an art lover (or cannot get enough of Colin Firth) you definitely have to watch this....more info
  • BAD DVD last 20 minutes of film skipped and froze.
    Good story about the events that brought the girl to sit for the painting. Not terribly exciting, but compelling. Too bad DVD failed to play the last 20 minutes of the film. So much for quality control....more info
  • A Masterpiece!
    Although the film could be described as overly artistic, it is an absolute joy to watch. Each and every scene is breathtaking, made to reflect the feeling of a painting in light and elegance.
    Also, I cannot imagine the characters being played by anyone else. Scarlett Johansson is brilliant (in my personal opinion). I was thoroughly pleased with her excellent subtlety. Her moods were vibrantly portrayed, even though at the same time, always mild and subdued. I was deeply impressed by her acting, and I am not one easily impressed.
    Cillian Murphy was perfect for the role of the butcher's son.
    Although I enjoyed Colin Firth's performance, I did not feel loyal to him as Vermeer. I am satisfied with his being cast, but there are others who could have fit the part just as well.
    The interaction between Griet and Vermeer is simply beautiful. Rich and softly powerful. Their relationship is unrelentingly teasing to the viewer, but in the end you do not feel cheated.
    I love this film and can get lost in its gorgeous world over and over again.
    ...more info
  • A Slice of Domestic Drama from Another Time
    Viewing this beautiful little film, I was initially inclined to dismiss it because of the modesty of its ambition. (It provides a fictional background establishing why one of Vermeer's most famous portraits was painted.)

    Then, while watching the DVD's extra features, I listened in amazement as the film's producer described GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING as a "domestic thriller." What a pretentious Hollywood ninny! That is exactly what this film ISN'T.

    What it IS is a slice of domestic history from another time and place, with marvelous cinematography and a great cast. And that is good enough!...more info
  • short and sweet!
    At just a little over an hour and a half, this film is very different from 1991's four hour long "La Belle Noiseuse" which was also about the relationship between an artist and his model. That film was more about the artistic process itself, whereas "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is more of a historical and sociological study, with a little bit of art on top.

    The dominant image this film leaves is of the rigid social and economic class structure of 17th century Holland, which all of the characters including the artist Vermeer are all bound by. A more descriptive title for this movie might have been, "Life of a 17th Century Dutch Maid-cum-Model."

    Cinematography is gorgeous, the whole film has the color and lighting of a Vermeer painting in fact. Unlike most European art and art/historical films this one has fairly decent pacing, so even the more attention-span-challenged viewers will survive. Johansson is perfectly cast, and all the actors perform well. This certainly ranks as a film worth watching more than once....more info
  • Behind the masterpiece
    Based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier, this film tells the story behind the Vermeer painting that shares its title with the film. In this imagining, the model is Griet (Scarlett Johanssen), a peasant girl with a natural artistic temperament. Before long, she and the painter Vermeer (Colin Furth) recognize each other as kindred souls who understand each other because they both understand and love the technique and artistry of painting. Thankfully, this film does not have them fall into bed together but rather recognizes that such a union could never come to pass. In this way, it is a poignant story of lost opportunity and unrequitable passion.

    This film also presents a fascinating, detailed, beautifully photographed portrait of life in 17th century Holland. I was also intrigued by its take on the artist/patron relationship. Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson) is well aware of the power he holds over Vermeer and his large family, and he is subtly cruel in the way he lords it over them. ...more info
  • If Vermeer Was Brit
    This beautifully made film is worth seeing for the heavily meditated transmission of 17th century Dutch art to the screen, a stunning achievement. Delft is wonderfully recreated based on the works of Vermeer and many other painters. The basic story line about a Calvinist girl warily going into a Bohemian artist household is fine, and Scarlett Johanson is very good, as is her butcher's apprentice boyfriend.

    The only problem is that this isn't Vermeer -- they should have simply used another name as in ordinary Roman a' clef novels such as The Sun Also Rises. While we do not have a dense background on Vermeer, we do know enough to say he wasn't a broody British Heathcliff. Painting wasn't his only gig nor even perhaps his main one -- he traded rugs & paintings & took over his dad's tavern. He knew all the artists in town and painted himself as a happy camper at least 3 times we know of. There is no reason to imagine his marriage and household wasn't happy, either -- it's an island of calm in 25 pics painted over 25 years. I guess you can't slander the dead, but as they used to say in the old days, there oughta be a law.

    Colin Firth is otherwise fine as Heathcliff in this spin off of Wuthering Heights moved to Delft, and the rest of the cast as Heathcliff's batty family. Remove the historicist pretension and the film works beautifully. Unfortunately, the cartooning of major artists is getting epedemic with films like Shakespeare in Love and Amadeus. For kids raised on the History Channel, Hollywood as history, this is bad candy which shouldn't be accepted from stangers. They are getting the past recreated with great visual acumen, but 0 inner light....more info
  • Scarlett Johansson looks like the girl in Vermeer's painting
    "Girl With a Pearl Earring" is a wonderful film. The story is about the artis Vermeer and how he came to paint the 'Girl With a Pearl Earring'. Scarlett Johansson- Griet - is sent off to work in the Vermeer household as a maid. She is wonderful in the role and looks alot like the girl in the painting. She is courted by the butcher's son played by Gillian Murphy but seems to have feelings for Vermeer. She does alot for Vermeer in secret. Colin Firth - Vermeer - is great. Vermeer seems to have something for Griet, whether it is lust or just an interest as an artist, is what you have to decide. Tom Wilkinson is the patron who buys alot of Vermeer's paintings. He wants Griet and is determined to have her one way or another. He has Vermeer to paint her. Vermeer has to keep him satisfied to keep him buying his paintings. The film has secracy, romance, deciet, and seduction. It really makes you sit up and watch. You have to read between the lines because some things are just not said, you have to fill it in yourself. Recommeded to 16 and above. Would see it again! Really enjoyed after learning about Vermeer in class....more info
  • Disappointed
    While I think that the film was beautifully filmed, I was more than disappointed by the screenplay. If you have read the book, you will realize that many interesting points were omitted. From the beginning, the scene where Vermeer "interviewed" Griet at her home and hired her after seeing her arranging the vegetables according to colors. For me, this set the stage for their relationship. Unfortunately, it was omitted. The mother-in-law was a strong personality in the book but played down in the film. The book ended with Griet marrying the butcher and having a family. It may have been implied in the film but I missed it.
    A great opportunity was missed to make this a classic....more info
  • A beautiful film that's as fun to study as a Vermeer painting itself
    I had to watch this movie for literature class and, judging from the past at the HORRIBLE books we have read for that class, expected this movie to suck badly. I was pleasantly surprised to know that it didn't! Girl With a Pearl Earring explores a theory of the biography of the largely unknown life of artist Johannes Vermeer, and his painting "The Girl With a Pearl Earring," whose purpose still remains unknown. Scarlett Johansson plays young servant Griet who moves in with a very wealthy family consisting of the painter Vermeer, his wife, his children, and his mother-in-law. Vermeer spends all of his time in his private studio painting and does not let anyone in the house enter. Eventually as Griet works in the house Vermeer grows attracted to her and begins to paint her in his studio without the other mean-spirited owners of the house not knowing. The story progresses and is ultimately a very mysterious movie that uses a HELL of a lot of symbolism in every way, and every shot of the movie seems like an actual Vermeer painting. The movie explores with a theory many rumours whirling around the life of this painter and makes for a very interesting film. Definitely recommended, especially to those who love art and/or Vermeer....more info
  • One of the most beautiful films I've ever seen
    The beauty of it's cinematography is simply wonderful. Each scene suggests an art's master piece through a story brilliantly told....more info
  • A sensual revelation
    Girl With a Pearl Earring is a genuine revelation, a quite remarkable film that pares down the narrative to concentrate on the unsaid, creating a remarkably sensual film in every sense of the word. That it looks beautiful should be and is a given, but more importantly it's a real piece of cinema. You really get a sense of the huge importance of art and the strong emotions it can unleash without resorting to speechifying or purple prose, just beautiful filmmaking that reveals a whole world with a subtle intensity: the wife's feeling of betrayal at the painting seems absolutely and horribly believable - it really is a far greater infidelity than if he had slept with her. There's a real sense of revelation to the film, a kind of early Christmas morning feeling. Scarlett Johansson is excellent, as for once is Colin Firth (a fine stage actor but all too often an uncomfortably constipated one on screen), but everything is just right about the movie. Quite superb.

    ...more info
  • A Work of Art
    I am not by any means an expert on art - my wife is much more educated on the subject - but I have to say what a bewitching movie this is. All through there are scenes which in themselves make perfectly-posed "paintings", and the camera- and lighting-experts deserve Oscars.

    We are also so delighted with the score that we are going to buy the CD.

    David Simpson
    Charlottesville, VA...more info
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring
    Great Movie, first saw on cable TV...may not appeal to 20 and under as there are a lot of parts with little or no dialogue and slow moving sometimes...I love both actors Scarlett and Colin and they did a fantastic job...If you like movies based on seeing communities and how the social moreas worked in centuries past, pick this up!...more info
  • The Maid Becomes An Inspirational Muse....
    I think many of us may be familiar with 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer's painting "Girl With A Pearl Earring", but many of us may have always wondered who the girl in the picture actually was and how she was chosen to be the subject of this painting.

    The movie, "Girl With A Pearl Earring", is based on the fictional novel of the same name by author Tracy Chevalier. It isn't known who the girl in the painting actually is and I think the novel (for which the moive is based) does a wonderful job of speculating who the subject of the painting actually is...... Actress, Scarlett Johansson, plays the part of a maid for the Vermeer family named Griet. Griet becomes the muse/inspiration for the painting when Johannes Vermeer is commissioned by a wealthy patron of the arts to paint Griet as the subject for Vermeer's next painting.

    Most of the focus of the movie is on the character of Griet--- who she is and how she comes to be the subject of the painting by Johannes Vermeer. This is an excellent movie. Great acting, scenery, costumes and lighting. Highly recommend watching this movie....more info
  • Get it NOW!!!!
    Amazing! Great! Wow this film was FANTASTICK! Colin Firth is such a great Vermeer. Scarlett Johansson is beautiful as the maid Griet. The sets were FABULOUS. I mean it was almost like being in Vermeer painting. I mean for real!! Ita just the lighting, the cothumes, and the sets. You have to see it to belive it. In the easyest words possible it is a Vermeer painting. Just buy it. ...more info
  • Highly Recommended
    Contrary to some, I don't think that Scarlett Johansson does such a brilliant job in this lovely film about the genesis of Vermeer's painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring." Rather, I think the camera is infatuated with her, which is appropriate considering that the theme of this film is the deep connection between art and eros.

    This carefully constructed film shows that art is transgressive, even that it is a kind of rape, as the scene in which Vermeer pierces young Griet's earlobe clearly reveals. The billowing white garments on their clotheslines, the carefully pressed white cap which must be put aside for the artful headpiece in the painting, the washtubs and soap scrubbing scenes -- all of these contribute to the theme, most baldly revealed when Vermeer's patron Pieter Van Ruijven violently approaches Griet by the clotheslines. "Unplucked still?" he asks. All that's left to expose is the proverbial blood on the sheets.

    If Vermeer truly has, as Griet accuses him, "looked inside" her to paint his picture, his wife, played brilliantly by Essie Davis, is right to feel betrayed. Mother and son-in-law play pimp to the quasi-pornographic, voyeuristic needs of the patron. The film explores this nexus of interests slowly, carefully, with a single-minded focus that itself amounts to a kind of rape. A very dark film about the intimate link between sex and art. So single-minded that it sometimes feels heavy-handed, though the photography is luminous....more info
  • Quiet, tense, still, and nearly perfect--like the paintings that inspired it
    Rarely is a film adaptation so vastly much better than the book that inspired it as is this one. First-time director Peter Webber makes something of a visual feast out of Tracy Chevalier's extremely thin novel about the painting of one of the world's most beautiful Old Masters. Scarlett Johanssen is ideally cast as Griet, a young Protestant in seventeeth-century Delft who crosses to the Catholic side of the town (where women do not always cover their hair, as she must) to work as a maid in the house of Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). Within her workaday life Griet discovers the combustible tensions within the Vermeer household, ruled over by his vain and insecure spendthrift wife (Essie Davis) and her shrewd mother (the estimable Judy Parfitt), who must figure out how to market her son-in-law's painting so as to keep their burgeoning household going. Complicating matters even further is their spoiled daughter Cornelia (Alakina Mann, the otherworldly daughter from THE OTHERS), and the fact that both Vermeer and his patron (Tom Wilkinson) cannot keep their eyes off of the gorgeous Griet. The film takes full advantage of its painterly subject, and each scene is staged and lit so exquisitely it seems to have been painted by Vermeer or his peers. Wisely, Webber and his screenwriter, Olivia Hetreed, keep the dialogue to an absolute minimum, allowing the actors to express what they cannot say to one another in the repressed Delft atnmosphere via looks and body language. Johanssen and Firth have never been better, although the real honors might go to Parfitt (in a marvelously complex performance). And Davis also acquits herself beautifully in her unsympathetic role of Catarina, and gets besides to deliver the film's most classic line when she finally unveils the title painting that has been kept hidden from her....more info
  • Mesmerizing
    I love this movie! I've always been a fan of Colin Firth & he gives a wonderful performance in this movie. It makes you think about Vermeer in a whole new way. I recently bought the book. I hope it proves to be as spell-binding as the movie. Enjoy!...more info
  • A Portrait Comes to Life and Captures the Viewer's Heart
    This film captures social, cultural and everyday life in 17th Century Holland beautifully and artistically through the eyes of Griet, a young hired servant who works in the household of a famous Dutch artist. Her emotions are captured superbly by the camera through long and short shots of her facial features. Griet is perfectly portrayed by Scarlett Johanssen. Essentially, the film is about the relationship that develops very gradually and subtley between the artist Johannes Vermeer and Griet as she learns about creating art. She is sent by her family to work in their house because her father is ill and the family needs the money. Griet learns a lot about different lifestyles and class differences by living with this family. She sees how the artist and his family totally depend on the patron for their living. They plan a grand dinner for the patron, Van Ruijven and his family to unveil the completion of a portrait of his wife and also to celebrate the birth of a baby into the Vermeer household. The dependency of the artist and his family on the patron, the absolute need to accomodate to his personal tastes and wishes, no matter what his character and behavior ... even to the point of compromise and deception within the Vermeer family is very well shown. Griet's own limited choices in life, her budding friendship with the butcher's son, the possibility for romance and a future together is nicely presented.

    The flow of life within the Vermeer household is artistically filmed using different color schemes and shadings of light ... portrayng the life of the servants contrasted with the life of the family. Colin Firth plays Vermeer, the quiet, handsome, brooding and thoughtful artist ... He shuts himself off in his studio to paint, to create artistic pieces using elegant color and light, capturing distinct moods and feelings. His wife Catherine is less artistic and more shallow. She is viewed as the dependent, spoiled wife of the artist, whose wit and charm can have a razor sharp edge when they are crossed. Her instincts register a threat after Griet's sleeping quarters are moved to the artists studio although the move is done to provide privacy for another servant. When Catherine again becomes pregnant ... Catherine's mother makes clear that everyone depends on Vermeer for their livlihoods - she is not averse to deceiving her own daughter by letting Johannes paint Griet in order to continue their lifestyle. Griet is warned by Pietr, the butcher's son, "you are a fly in his web". The character of Van Ruijven is very well explored ... catering to his whims and procliviites. There are several episodes within the film where Catherine's shrewish jealous fits are sure signs that Griet's future is not assured within this family structure. Rumors surface at the marketplace about Griet and the artist. Amazingly, there is a magnificent conclusion to the events of Griet's relationship with Johannes Vermeer. The ending is quite touching and sensitively filmed. For this viewer, it was a total surprise.
    Erika Borsos (pepper flower)...more info
  • A moving painting
    I awarded this particular film 5 stars for one simple reason: I would press 'pause' on my DVD players every 2 minutes, just to stare at some scenes, that looked just as if they were paintings made by great artists of the baroque era. Both the director of photography and the director of the film must have a deep knowledge of the way Johannes Vermeer - and his contemporaries - painted.
    What first caght my attention when I watched this film was its photography, but I have to admit, the story, even so subtle as it is, is very touching. It bears the light fragrant of artistic passion and, even though it does not tread on traditional filming standards, it depicts quite exceptionally the kind of understanding that binds people who can 'see' and appreciate beauty, and the dangers and obstacles that lie in the path of their communication with the rest (and what tensions may arise due to sociological reasons - even though the present era differs in style and ethos from that of middle 1600s it is essentially characterized by similar social patterns).
    If you love art and beauty, you will love this film. If you prefer action or Hollywood melo love stories, this is a no-go for you....more info
  • A TRUE BARGAIN FOR THE PRICE
    This movie is a great find for any art lover. The entire film offers the beautiful essence of the oil painting by Vermeer. I'm not saying it is as great as the master's painting; it is however, as sensual and reveals the color quality from the painting.

    Griet, the girl in the picture, played by Scarlett Johansson, is masterful in that, even with many moments where she has no dialogue, her expressions and the glances of her eyes tells the story of the painting over and over and over. She is a goddess-like beauty but at the same time plain as any Delft maid in 1665. What she does NOT say tells much of the painting's story.

    Colin Firth is...well, Colin Firth is top-drawer good and this time not as an Englishman. He does a perfect job portraying the artist, Vermeer, in love with the picture's composition and subject, NOT the girl herself.

    For anyone who recognizes the painting, this is a gem (or should we call it a "PEARL"? A welcome film companion to the art work. And if you like this, try to locate a copy of "Sunday in the Park with George" a musical based upon the characters painted by Seurat in his masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte". ...more info
  • Absorbing and powerful
    At its core, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a study of power and entrapment. Nearly everyone has personal desires that they must depend upon someone else to provide: Vermeer longs for someone to understand his love of painting, his wife wants the attention of her cool and distant husband as well as status in society, and Griet wants to keep her job in order to provide for her family. Only the art patron can afford to be fickle in his desires and he is the one to whom they all must unwillingly pander to ensure their financial security. Although the pace of the movie is slow, the developing relationship between Griet and Vermeer and the rising tension in the household are engaging enough to make the viewer want to see what will happen next. Scarlett Johansson does an excellent job of portraying quiet and vulnerable Griet whose curiosity is in conflict with her desire to maintain her morality (and her job) and Colin Firth, as the enigmatic Vermeer, displays the power to entrance as he pushes her to the edge of discomfort with his physical and emotional advances. Although fictional, the story is entirely plausible, and makes for an absorbing tale about the famous painting. ...more info
  • Left Way Too Much To Be Desired
    I can't understand why this movie is getting such high ratings. I haven't read the novel to this movie and nor do I want to now. This movie killed any interest I could have had with this story. I haven't seen such stiff and unconvincing actors in a long time that brought absolutely nothing to their characters worth any interest. Honestly they all bored me to tears. I can't really blame the actors though entirely, but Scarlett especially was boring. Movies of this sort can be so rich and wonderful if only there are characters worth giving a damn about, which there aren't in this film. They're so dull and lifeless in my opinion. Where's the passion at all? There is none. They just stand around staring blankly at each other but you're supposed to just get everything they don't do and don't say. And poor Cillian Murphy is so limited in this film, and yet to me was still ironically the most interesting person in the film.

    What can I say? There is nothing I liked about this film. Sure the scenery is done well enough but the characters, the storyline itself- is not worth watching at all. So I say to pass this movie by. There are much better films in the same vein as this one with a much more interesting story and also characters.

    1/5...more info
  • Ugh!
    I can't imagine watching this movie without having read the book first because the movie explains nothing about what is going on! People, the book is not that long, you didn't have to change so much or leave so many things out!

    Scarlett got on my nerves because I felt like she was just an actress not completely into her part. I never bought her as Griet. None of the other characters got enough time to become interesting and so the beauty of the book is really lost.

    I would pass on this movie if I were you and just read the book....more info
  • VERMEER FICTIONALIZED
    You don't have to be an artist appreciate the cinematography of this film but unless you are aesthetically or visually impaired you cannot help but love it. Every shot is composed, lit and photographed as would Vermeer were he a filmmaker-every scene is a photo-painting in the style of the master. For the visual quality alone anyone with the eye, if not the actual skill of an artist , must see it.

    As for the story, the very cleverly developed tale is an interesting, if not predictable one. A young peasant girl (Grete?), whose artist father was blinded, needs work and is employed by the Vermeer household as a servant. The household, apprently run by Vermeer's clever mother-in-law and which is captive of a lustful and wealthy patron, who lusts after the the newly hired servant girl-Grete, as does Vermeer, whose wife is in a constant state of pregnancy, leaving the artist to seek out other conquests, one of which may be the strong-willed servant girl. I won't spoil the rest of the plot which women may appreciate more than men, but I liked the film overall in the following breakdown:
    Visual quality and ability to mimic Vermeer's world and his art, 5 stars. Story 4.5 stars. ...more info
  • Really good
    Yeah there's brooding, but some people are like that. Life wasn't exactly happy in that time and place. I love the story and setting....more info
  • 5 stars for we may never see artistc photography such as this again
    So many good reviews, what can I add? Just my own experience

    I have never seen a movie whose all intension is to find, capture and portrait the scenes the Dutch masters were made famous for.. Just this makes you play with the movie, similar to kids playing "I see".. The production in this sense is flawless,, and the setting of the epoch is so real.. You can feel the tensions everywhere,, and there is this girl, no instructions whatsoever, but she has the gift and the genius to see what the master is doing and to even correct him!! This is what captivates him.. at the end of the movie, I cannot escape the feeling of contemplation of the Art Collector - as he has the painting in front of him, for his joy only- as he admires the painting.. We are to pass, yet we were given a chance to admire.. what else can you do?
    ...more info
  • subtly beautiful
    First of all, the setting was beautiful. The color of the lighting was vivid, and yet never too bright, just like the lighting in Vermeer's painting. I have to say, every scene in the movie was a painting on its own. The script was a really good adaptation of the fictional novel. Some might say that part of the film could be shorten to keep the film focus. I thought that the pace of the film was chosen in such way so that the audience could grasp what it was like to live a life such as Griet's. Beside the inexplicable mutual appreciation with her master, Griet was such a vibrant character that her every move brought uneasiness, not to mention jealousy, to the people around her. Her admiration for Vermeer did not develop over night, but rather steadily. Vermeer never said anything excessive to her. In fact, there were only a couple of occassions that really reached out to her heart, encouraged her to boldly step out of her servent clothes, and became the muse of a famous painting. The audience would not want to be bombarded with the irrationality of Vermeer's wife and the malice of his daughter one after another. The anticipation to a climax already filled the air every time she was up in the studio quietly dabbing the dust or whatnot. The casting was superb. Colin Firth played Vermeer in a similar fashion as he played Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, only replacing pride with solitude and apathy for anything outside of his painting. Firth was good with this sort of silent roles, because he acted in such a way that you couldn't tell whether he was really interested or not, and that definitely built up the anticipation. His eyes could be cold when something did not suit his thoughts, and yet they could be passionate otherwise. Scarlett Johansson's acting was just vibrant. As young as she was, her radiance was spearing through from beneath the face of a 20-year-old, just like how Griet could not cover up her intelligence and beauty in those plain servent clothes. Cilian Murphy was brilliant at playing the combination of Pieter and Griet's brother Frans in the movel. One could tell in his face that he knew what was going on, but he always kept it to himself in front of Griet, a flawless portrayal to the role. Essie Davis's role as the jealous wife was amazing. Even I felt sorry that she was as unreasonable as such. In conclusion, if you appreciate the beauties in silence and subtlety, this film is for you....more info
  • Another lost opportunity
    I give this movie 3 stars due to the transcendent beauty of the filming.
    I give it only 3 due to the second half of the movie. I give the first half 5 stars plus! The problem? It is similar to such movies as "Immortal Beloved", the one about Beethoven that has gotten so many rave reviews. They are both lost opportunities of creating movies about artists, composers which reflect truth. How much more exciting, interesting and moving would it have been if it had followed what we know of the life of the artist and the creation of the painting...which is not much, but less is more.

    In this one, we know little about the life of Vermeer, so what do directors, screenwriters, producers do...they make up salacious sensational soap-opera events to attract the 21st century movie going audience. What they have done is blasphemous to the integrity and art of Vermeer. Why couldn't we have had a movie about ONLY the creation of this incredible painting..."The Girl with the Pearl Earring"? Just the making of the painting, without adding fabricated rapes and domestic marital strife. It is almost as if the creators of this movie hated Vermeer.
    Shame on you. Shame on those who created the false sensationalism of the Beethoven Immortal Beloved movie too.

    If you purchase this movie. Watch only the first half. The last half is not about art or Vermeer, but about money for filmakers. Filmakers who have no understanding of what true beauty is, and the spiritual integrity which ensues if you follow truth rather than cheap tawdry fiction.

    P.S. The actors were wonderful, I give them 5 stars, despite the meretricious screenplay....more info
  • Well acted, beautifully shot, leaves a little in the way of storytelling
    Scarlett Johansson's selection for the role of the girl (supposedlty the painter's maid) immortalized in Vermeer's painting with a pearl earring is simply perfect. And she adds on to the great choice by delivering an extraordinary performance, not too far from her delivery in "Lost in Translation". The cinematography and music was awe inspiring at many moments too.

    As for shortcomings, the movie feels like it could have gone further in terms of the storytelling and building of a conflict. In the end, the situation lands into what feels as a rather abrupt ending leaving a few underdeveloped elements, such as the case of the painter's daughter and the painter's patron and own their respective mini-plots with the maid.

    Still in the end, it is a good movie. Just not a five star film....more info
  • Beautiful piece of arts....without soul
    Just like Vermeer's painting, the color of lighting in this movie is always vivid. Never too bright. Watching this movie is like seeing a thousand pieces of Dutch painting. Each frame is a painting. Beautiful setting. Glarring costumes. Perfect lighting. Clever angles. Dazzling scenes. This movie is crafted so well visually.

    Adapted from Tracy Chevalier's novel, the movie tells a story about events surrounding the making of the "Girl with a Pearl Earring", a painting made in 17th century by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Following the novel's plot, the girl in the painting is described as a young peasant maid named Griet (played by Scarlet Johannson).

    She was working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), and became his talented assistant and the model for one of Veermer's most famous works.

    The movie is successful in capturing subtle and complex process of the making of arts. In fact, the movie itself is a kind of visual art. It brilliantly brings the Dutch painter's life and the shimmering city of Delft in the 17th century Holland to reality on the screen. The main actors also play so well. With not many dialogues, they act so well with body languages and gestures.

    However, I feel that this movie is so dull. What's missing is the emotion. The story is not interesting. The pace is too slow. At the end the whole movie is just a beautiful piece of art without soul. ...more info
  • The maid who inspired the artist!
    Beautifull, subtle and delightfull would be the words to describe this film. This film despite being brief, is really amazing and throws light on Vermeer quite well, played by the versatile Colin Firt. Scarlett Johannson was beyond words, her potrayal of the young maid was simply beautifull and so was Essie Davis in the role of the painter's wife. Truely amazing performences by everyone in the film. This is a unique, exceptional film, really worth a watch. My rating 4.2 / 5 ...more info
  • "A" for effort, "B" for execution
    Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth were alright in this film, although I felt that Scarlett was overacting and Firth was almost comatose. The story was rather predictable and understated. The film could have explored more into Greit's (Scarlett) background to explain her religious upbringing and how it impacted her relationships with Vermeer (Firth) and his family. All I know is that she was from some religion that required women to cover their hair. Also, Mrs. Vermeer could have been made more sympathetic, instead of appearing crazy and rather unattractive from the get go. I also would have liked to see the romance between Greit and the "Butcher boy" develop more fully.

    The one good thing about this film was that the married Vermeer did not have an affair with Greit. I don't see anything romantic about a married man with a whole boatload of children seducing a young, poor girl. ...more info
  • Love it, want to buy, but can you help me?
    I find this movie one of my favourites. I want to give the DVD as a gift to my mother as she loves painting, but I need to know if the DVD has subtitles in spanish. I can not find that information here, can anybody please check and let me know, and possibly update the technical information about the DVD regarding subtitles? I would really appreciate this....more info
  • Key film for movie lovers
    The images of this film are unique and make it a master piece for movie lovers.Scarlett is great ...more info
  • magnificent!
    A masterpiece in itself, the movie shines. Scarlett Johansson is convincing as a house maid who serves as an inspiration for her master painter and develops feelings for him. Colin Firth is beyond sexy with dark flowing locks and a painter's touch. Angsty and heartfelt, this is a must-see film, if only to make you question an artist's devotion to his subjects....more info
  • My Thoughts On "Girl With A Pearl Earring"
    "Girl With The Pearl Earring" was the first art related movie that i have ever seen. To be honest, I thought I was going to be bored through out the whole movie. I was wrong. The movie not only talked about the Scarlett Johansson's character(the girl in the painting,) it also talked about other people that were affected by the painting, like the painters family. It also has a great storyline. In all, I believe this is a movie worth watching....more info
  • A superb and major artwork!
    It's difficult for me to be totally objective due the fact I have been all my life a hard fan of Vermeer. Her absolute domain of the color harmonies, the sharp contrast between the light cascades and his total domain of the fugue point is absolute.
    The film focuses around the simple but powerful anecdote , how this picture was done. Scarlett Johansson shines with her fantastic performance. Colin Firth is impressive too as the Delft ' s genius, but Tom Wilkinson is outstanding and deserves all the best comments.
    The illumination was made following the pictorial patterns, elegant, mysterious, enigmatic and sensual, a true visual feast, that complements a very artistic film.
    ...more info
  • Artistically well done; story could be better
    I read the book before I saw the movie, and the movie doesn't doe the book much justice, which is why I only gave it 3 stars. But visually, the movie was made very well. The colors, the lighting, the costumes made this visually entertaining! The acting was also great and believable.

    But I did not like the script at all. I couldn't help comparing it with the book throughout most of the movie. There was a lot that was missed and, had it been included, it would have made for a better story. Although... I do prefer the ending of the movie and wished the book ended the same way....more info
  • Exquisitely beautiful adaptation of the novel
    One of the things that Tracy Chevalier wanted to do in the novel was to make the relationship between Griet and Johannas Vermeer nonsexual. Olivia Hetreed's script and the direction by Peter Webber adhere to this ideal. In her imaginings of what the girl with the pearl earring was like and what her life was like, I believe Chevalier thought it would be romantic in an artistic sense to have Vermeer's interest in her be artistic and not carnal. It is obvious from the exquisite beauty of the painting (actual title: "Girl in a Turban") that he very much admired her. It is difficult for me to believe that in that admiration he did not also feel some desire for her.

    Be that as it may--and I certainly respect Chevalier's interpretation and in fact think it makes for a more interesting story than if there had been some sexual involvement--Vermeer's wife, Catharina, sees in the painting beauty that she herself does not possess. She also cannot help but wonder just what it is that her husband and the pretty young girl do during all those hours upstairs. Yet, the emphasis is on Catharina's jealousy of Griet's beauty and not on any imagined infidelity. I think this is consistent with Chevalier's interpretation of what the relationship between the maid and the great artist might have been.

    This movie surprised me in how beautiful it is and how carefully Peter Webber, whose previous credits are in television, reconstructed 17th century Delft, Holland. If you go to the IMDb you will see that there were some goofs and anachronisms, such as a person in the background in one scene riding a bicycle. However, the Holland of 340 years ago seemed authentic and graphically atmospheric, including all the chores Griet had to do and the errands she had to run--note her red and bruised hands. (They used lye in soap in those days.)

    Still the open air market could have used a few more flies (ha!) and the butcher boy (Cillian Murphy) was entirely too pretty (ha!), but Vermeer's studio seemed magical and I love the mixing of the colors and the way the light came through the windows. There are at least three Vermeer paintings in which we see the same light from the same window: the title painting; the painting he was working on without the chair in the foreground that Griet removed called, "Young Woman with a Water Jug"; and "The Painter's Studio." If I made a list of the most beautiful films I have ever seen, Girl with a Pearl Earring would make the list, along with, e.g., Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern (1992) and Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) and maybe a dozen more.

    As for Scarlett Johansson who had the title role I must say she won me over. At first I thought she was a bit too voluptuous for the part. (It is interesting to compare the reconstruction of the painting with Johansson with the original shown at the end of the movie. The real girl was a bit more delicate and of course not as sensual as Johansson.) Johansson won me over because of the subtly of her interpretation and because of the hard work she obviously put into the part. She is an actress we will see a lot of in the future. If you want to see her in less severe garb, catch her in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003) where her sensual beauty is more fully presented.

    Colin Firth very much caught the intensity of the artist and seemed to do so almost without effort. His eyes beheld Griet and indeed all the world not in a carnal way, but in the penetrating way of the artist who wants to see the world as it really is, not as our needs demand. We see this in the scene in which he insists that Griet see the real colors in the clouds, not just the white that we think we see. Note too (continuing Chevalier's theme) that it would be inopportune, careless and threatening to his artistic career for Vermeer to have an affair with the maid since with his mother-in-law in the house (her house, her money), and his wife and some nosy, tattling children, he would have been caught. Vermeer only completed about 40 paintings in his lifetime. His wife (or most especially his mother-in-law) was indeed his most important "patron." An artist without a patron sleeps in the streets, especially in such a mercantile world as a small town in 17th century Holland.

    Catharina Vermeer (Essie Davis in an underappreciated role) provided exactly the right counterpoint with her vile, snake-in-the-garden-of-artistic-eden presence and her purely burgher mentality and her oppressive jealousy and her high-handed treatment of her servants. Without Davis's excruciatingly vivid performance this movie would have been flat and lacking in tension.

    As for the ending and for the inevitable comparison with the novel, let's say the ending here (and the question of Griet's future life with the "butcher boy") is more open to interpretation than in the book where more is explained. (See my review, or better yet read the novel.) The strength of the book is in how deeply we can go into the mind of Griet and into the artistic intimacy of her relationship with Vermeer, whereas in the movie we can more fully appreciate the atmosphere and the beauty of the artist's vision.

    By the way, in the novel it is clear that Griet does indeed desire Vermeer but realizes that his station is too much above hers, and his circumstances with five children and a sixth on the way leave no room for her. Also clear in both mediums is the fact that Vermeer's exquisite portrait is, in effect, his way of making love to her....more info
  • Good, but no depth as book had
    This movie was okay, but it did not portray the book as I would have imagined. They left out important scenes from the book. Scarlett Johannson did not embody the main character well. She did not show any of the bravery or integrity as in the novel....more info
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring
    The film took me back in time. The set and costumes were amazing. I felt as though I was a witness to the secrecy of Vermeer's painting. I felt for Griet. I hoped that meeting the great Vermeer would bring her contentment. What is to become of this girl, kept me watching....more info
  • Horrible
    The only thing I thought was cool about this film was the cinematography and how much it looks like a Flemish painting of the time.

    Beyond that? Spoiler ALERT: there is no point to this. The movie sucked, adn after all this, they didn't even get it on??? Come on. No seriously, I'm all against gratuitous sex, but after the pain of this, it was all I had to look forward to.

    Oh, and Johanssen sucks. She plays the obstacle and never picks up her cues. Firth is alright, but the script sucks.

    I wish I was more eloquent with my language, but I don't think this movie deserves it....more info
  • Plain Jane role for Scarlett
    I got the DVD & book for my Christmas, but it's taken me this amount of time to watch it. It's not something I would have picked out for myself, but after watching it, and being simply transfixed throughout, I'm so glad I got it now. Even watching the trailer, it's that brilliant, that I didn't even realise it was Colin Firth, until my Dad said that he kept seeing Darcy. Duh!

    Scarlett Johansson is stunning in this, even though she's playing a very plain servant girl. She hasn't really done a role like this since Ghost World, she was plain in that. But even when she's wearing virtually no makeup, and her hair's scraped back, and under a cap thing, and that infamous cleavage of hers is covered up, she still exudes beauty from every pore. And not many girls can do that. She managed to speak so much with just her eyes and lips, and even when she went ages without speaking, she didn't need to really. She's never going to be Hollywood beautiful, but she's a gorgeous girl, and it's shown through in many of her films.

    Colin Firth plays a great role opposite Scarlett, there's even chemistry, which I didn't expect between them. There's barely any contact between them, but the sexual tension is just crackling away.

    I haven't read the book yet, but in so many other reviews, I've read that it's better than the film (obviously) and fills in a few gaps. Like the fact that despite there's no contact, the piercing of her ear is meant to be a metaphor that he took her virginity. Tom Wilkinson is really sleazy in this, which I did not expect, and every line is just dripping with innuendo.

    Although Vermeer and the painting both are real historic figures, the screenplay is based on Tracy Chevalier's novel and therefore largely fictional or hypothetical. Only 36 Vermeer paintings are known to exist today, and none of the models have ever been positively identified. A poster of the painting in her bedroom inspired Chevalier to write her own version of how it came to exist based on the framework of Vermeer's known history. Chevalier sold the film rights and opted not to have any involvement in the film or screenplay, although after its release said she was pleased with the results.

    This is definitely a film to see, and I'll definitely be watching it again. I disagree with another reviewer who said that it was too slow to be watched by anyone under 40 - I'm half that age, and I managed to sit through it, which I haven't been doing with too many films recently. The ending was a bit of a let down, but I think it's better done in the book. ...more info
  • Wanted more......
    I enjoyed this for a period movie, but to me it was borderline b-o-r-i-n-g. I think the story was there, but skimmed over, coming up short of what could have been a spectacular show. It felt unfinished and rushed through. I love Colin Firth and wanted more from him and Johansson was beautiful, but was a zombie! I felt incomplete after watching this. The movie had many gaps that were not filled in or completed. It was an OK movie with plenty of potential, but with no soul. ...more info
  • Subtle, complex meditation on art and life
    I'd like to point out, as a professional in the arts world, that this scenario is the first I have ever seen successfully to treat the inter-relationships among art, libido, money, and power.

    While this is a beautiful film about the making of an important work of art, it is by no means smarmy or sentimental. ALL the characters are flawed, event the innocent-appearing servant girl (who uses her butcher boy suitor to assuage her unconsommated love/lust for Vermeer). Everyone has an angle, as they used to say in 1940's gangster movies.

    Vermeer himself is no prize -- unable by the force of circumstances to act on his attraction to the servant girl, he gives her not even a glance as she leaves his household in semi-disgrace, even though she has (symbolically) given up her virginity to the artist and his painting.

    Yet, from the interactions of all these morally compromised characters comes a fabulous work of art, the painting we contemplate at the very end. Quite amazing, quite miraculous, and quite close to how the process works in the real world among actual human beings. Five stars for this scenario (and ten, or five hundred, whatever you like) for the visuals.
    ...more info
  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    An impressive adaptation of Chevalier's novel that (for my money) does many things better than the book, Girl With a Pearl Earring resists any urges to amplify the book's quiet drama and instead turns in a subtly effective little story....more info
  • If You Like Seeing People Standing Around Wide Eyed and Gaped Jawed, This Movie is for You.
    Everyone else do yourself a favor and avoid it. I'm just happy that I saw it on IFC and didn't rent or (heaven forbid) buy the stupid thing. I was hoping for a movie that would be both visually and intellectually stimulating (like The Agony and the Ecstasy) but instead only got one that was pleasing to the eye. I kept hoping that the story would show up but it never did, unless of course the script read "Scarlet Johansson stands wide eyed and fearful for the next hour and a half." The romance (if that was what it was) between Griet and the butcher's son was neither developed (did she love him or was she repulsed by him) or necessary. Nor can I see any reason for the groping scene, the bratty daughter "sub-plot" (you must have a plot before you can have a sub-plot), or pretty much anything else in the movie. I won't go as far as some to complain about the American accents, since the only way to have real authenticity in that department would be to have everyone speaking Dutch, but the "creepy guy/stalker boss/all men are evil" theme has been done to death and this movie provided us with two examples of it!

    I've not read the novel and, as another reviewer stated, now I don't want to but I do hope the rule that the book is better than the movie is the case.

    My final thought, nice to look at but otherwise boring and pretentious....more info
  • THE BOOK IS BETTER...
    Based upon a best selling book of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, I had high hopes for this film. Unfortunately, they were not fully realized. While the cinematography is exquisite, as every frame brings to mind a Vermeer painting or one by an old Dutch master, the film is static and becomes enervated, sinking into a torpor that not even its beauty can cure.
    The story line seems fairly simple. A pretty and seemingly intelligent Dutch girl, Griet (Scarlett Johansson), daughter of an artisan with failing eyesight, goes to work as a maid the home of painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), when her family's financial circumstance mandates that she seek employment. While in the Vermeer household, she is caught up in the undercurrents that exist within. When Griet catches the eye of Vermeer's wealthy patron (Tom Wilkinson), she becomes the object of the patron's lust, the object of Vermeer's wife's (Essie Davis) jealousy, and the subject of one of Vermeer's most noted paintings.

    Unfortunately, the storyline is static in its presentation, never fully realizing any of its plots or sub-plots. Too much is left unexplained and too little is alluded for the viewer to draw inferences to fill in the story gaps. This is a shame, given the time, expense, and attention to detail given to the entire production. Consequently, the film moves as if it were a montage of beautifully drafted paintings transplanted to film. It is ponderously slow, forgetting that it is a film requiring some cohesion of story or plot, something that this film lacks. More telling, it lacks real dramatic tension. It is almost as if the filmmaker were more interested in the form of the film rather than its substance. Therein lies the rub.

    Still, the sheer beauty of the cinematography alone makes this film worth seeing. Seventeenth century Holland is painstakingly brought to life. There is no detail that is left to chance in the exquisite re-creation of the environs and material goods of the characters. Much effort is devoted to authenticity of detail. Moreover, the use of lighting is extraordinary, causing every scene to look as if it were a moment captured in time for all posterity. This film was justifiably nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 for its cinematography. I am only surprised that it lost to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

    Scarlett Johanssen bears a remarkable resemblance to the subject of the noted painting by Vermeer, and she shimmers with a compelling luminosity throughout the film. She is simply sheer physical perfection in the role. In terms of illuminating the viewer as to the psyche of her character, she falls somewhat short, giving only tantalizing glimpses of what lays beneath her impassive demeanor, as she forms a bond with Vermeer, sharing a seemingly mutual appreciation of aesthetics. Colin Firth, in the role of Vermeer, falls a little short of the mark. Disheveled and seemingly unkempt, he appears doltish and boorish rather than artistic. One gets very little sense of the artist through his performance, but, in all fairness, he has very little dialogue with which to work. Perhaps that is intentional, as a sublimation to his artistry. The viewer is left unsure. Whatever the reason, his performance simply fails to paint a meaningful portrait of the artist.

    The roles of Vermeer and Griet are the primary roles, yet they fail to carry the film, as they are too underdeveloped to convey the story the director seems to be trying to tell. Essie Davis gives an excellent performance as Catharina, Vermeer's jealous and histrionic wife. Judy Parfitt is compelling as Maria Thins, Vermeer's practical and socially conscious mother-in-law. Tom Wilkinson gives a fine performance as the wealthy, lustful patron, Van Ruyven. Cillian Murphy is outstanding as Pieter, the very handsome butcher's boy who falls in love with Griet. Joanna Scanlan is very good in the role of Tannake, the cook and housekeeper. Still, their performances are not sufficient to bring the story together, as they are secondary characters that are as underdeveloped as the primary ones.

    See the film for its beauty, but do not expect a story that is compelling....more info
  • perfect
    The movie is perefct, i know, because i reed about Vermer, and i sow in books his pictures, and the movie is just perfect, the actress is like the real model, the dresees are identic, the ilumination is very similar as the pictures he made. The movie is a really art work....more info
  • Enough, Scarlett, enough!
    Am I the only person on the planet who's sick of this actress doing this silent-brooding-staring-into-space-or-at-the-floor-routine? Good lord, honey, lighten up. Let me know there's life in there. Is this all she knows how to do? I know this role doesn't call for "perky," but couldn't she give some indication that she has a pulse?...more info
  • Defective discs 2 out of 2
    I received two copies of this DVD, one from Amazon and one from a different source. both DVDs had the same problem.
    About 10 minutes into the movie the picels started breaking up and a little while later, the movie just froze.
    Tried it on different players and computers and still no joy.
    Had to get refunds on both.

    Must be a manufacturing glitch....more info
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring
    I would say "Girl with a Pearl Earring" was an interesting, must see video. Scarlett Johansson's character was well thought out. I did not have a great interest in art, but thanks to this video I now do. The costumes in the movie were beautiful. Vermeer's paintings were detailed and looked amazing.I definitely enjoyed watching this movie. I would recommend this movie to all the art lover's out there. ...more info
  • REALLY SLOW! REALLY BORING!
    obviously all the people that gave this movie 4-5 stars were asked to write positive reviews or read the book. this movie had so many wholes in it that i couldnt wait for it to end. the script was probably only two pages of diologue. you could literally watch this movie while cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes with the sound off and still know what was going on. I love period movies and the set, clothing, scenery ect. fit the bill. Its to bad there was'nt some substance along with it....more info
  • Beautiful to look at, interesting story process. Absolute fiction in a good historical setting.
    As I watched this movie it seemed to me that the substance of the story is all about projection. This is a completely made up story (except for the details of it is believed Vermeer actually worked), a Romance in the original sense of the word, or a "backstory" to use a particularly ugly term that seems to be used lately, on the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer. It is set in Vermeer's 17th century Delft and mostly in his house. The movie is based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier (of whom I know nothing).

    What do I mean by projection? Well, it is natural that when you or I look at the painting and see this enigmatic young woman, we begin to ask ourselves questions about who she is and what she is thinking and feeling. When we begin to answer those questions we are projecting from our inner self onto the painting things that are not there. It says everything about us, but nothing real about the painting. We may even love the painting for the story it represents for us, but do not mistake it for the piece Vermeer painted.

    The film opens with vegetables being cut, rather slowly. Their colors are saturated and let us know what the visual effect of the film is going to be. The movie is framed, lit, and given the color of Vermeer paintings. There is strong light and shadow effects and at times the kind of almost washed away look that some of the paintings have today.

    We don't know who the girl preparing the salad is. Even when we hear her name called, "Griet", we do not know if the woman commanding her is her mistress, a head servant, or her mother. We start putting pieces together when she talks with this man who clearly has suffered a severe accident. He is her father and the girl is being sent away to be a servant. The father was a painter of sorts - for ceramics and gives her a memento of one of the tiles he has painted. So, we begin our projection. What was his accident? What were their circumstances before and after? What will become of them?

    When Griet (Scarlett Johansson) shows up at the Vermeers' it is obvious that the mistress of the house does not feel comfortable about having this pretty young girl in the household. The other servants are wary of her, but soon take her to heart. I won't provide any more of the plot except to note that Griet has the same effect on everyone in the film as she has on us in the painting (remember that this character is entirely made up - know one knows who the girl in the painting really was or when it was actually made, although there are good guesses). Vermeer (Colin Firth) projects on her an understanding for his art that she likely does not posses, although the wonder of the art is powerful to her. Van Ruijven, Vermeer's principle patron (Tom Wilkinson), projects his own appetites and lusts for the girl onto Vermeer and Griet. The wife (Essie Davis) projects her fears about her husband onto Griet and blames her for the alienation she feels. The only one who seems to see reality is the mother-in-law (Judy Parfitt).

    This is a visually beautiful movie, and we do get to see something about how Vermeer's art was made. However, it is vital that no one take this absolutely fictional story, no matter how accurate the historical setting, as anything real about the artist, his family, his patrons, or the real girl with a pearl earring....more info
  • Stunning flim visually, but script falls short.
    Based on the book by Tracy Chevalier, this film is about Griet, a young protestant girl who goes to work as a maid for the Catholic family of painter Vermeer.
    Pro: I have to admit that this is a gorgeous film, and the attention to detail is astounding. It's so difficult to make period pieces, and they've done a wonderful job.
    But, this film IS lacking in the story department. The film misses what the book delves into so well: Griet's mind. The entire book is written around the thoughts and reasons behind Griet's actions, and her responses to Vermeer, Pieter, etc.
    If it wasn't based on a book, I would give it a 5, and if you want to see a lovely art film, then this is a great one, but if you're a kid who did not do their summer reading and are trying to watch the movie, or are a huge fan of the book, you're better off elsewhere....more info
  • Light emerging from darkness.
    In this movie a young woman, Griet, is forced to leave home and find employment as a maid. She finds herself in the home of the painter Vermeer and his family. The setting is 17th century Holland, and the historically authentic sets and brilliant photography relentlessly drive home to the viewer the physical harshness of life in that time. Even people of means must contend with cold and damp, filth, cramped living spaces, and a myriad other sources of physical discomfort.

    But the film also explores the emotional suffering of the time through its portrayal of Vermeer's family. We see very little kindness in this family, and plenty of resentment, grief, rage, sadness, and downright meanness. Griet comes from a family which is very poor but which seems to have real affection for her. Settling in with her employers, she must learn to navigate the shoals of the bitterness which surround her. Indeed, the Vermeer family seems to be representative of an age when the currency of power dominated human relationships in a much more obvious and raw fashion than we see today. The world outside Griet's family is one of darkness; grasping, cruelty, and ignorance are accepted modes of behavior.

    But Griet does not become overwhelmed by this darkness. Instead, she discovers the paintings of Vermeer. Soon, her mind begins to open up to greater possibilities, and a new sort of consciousness seems to take hold in her. As the movie progresses, she becomes caught up in the growth of her interior vision so much so that the destructive energies of the household cannot distract her from this growth. In this way, she is an embodiment of the paintings themselves, which are very much about light appearing in the midst of darkness, and the power of illumination emerging from physical limitation. The photography mirrors this theme, with shots that are lit in the same manner as Vermeer's paintings. Thus the development of Griet's character, the photography, Vermeer's art, and the dynamics of the family conflict all weave together to create one overriding image: light emerging from darkness.

    This movie moves slowly. We watch a young woman's enlightenment taking place against a backdrop of rising tension and hatred which are intensified by her presence. But it is the quality of her spirit more than her physical beauty which causes much of the tension within the family. Johansson convincingly portrays a woman who embodies a luminous, interior beauty-- and it is this that thoroughly captivates the artist Vermeer. A beautiful and awe inspiring film....more info
  • A Feast for the Eyes and Ears...
    Visually, Girl with a Pearl Earring is absolutely stunning. Viewing the film on DVD, one could actually watch the entire piece with the sound turned completely off and enjoy it just as much...as has been said many times before; the film is like viewing a Vermeer painting in motion.

    Based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier of the same name, the story is a speculative exploration into the identity of the model of the famous Vermeer painting. A young woman from a poor family is forced to seek employment and finds work as a maid in the Vermeer household. A tacit love affair develops between Griet (Scarlett Johansson) and Vermeer (Colin Firth) though in a purely emotional and mental sense, as her appreciation of art, due to Griet's father being a painter, intrigues the master, and he begins to teach her about colour and the delicate skill of mixing paint to achieve just the right shade and depth. I loved the scene where Vermeer asks Griet to tell him the colour of the clouds in the sky. She responds with the answer, "white", to then observe more intently, to answer, "Yellow, blue and grey..." Vermeer is pleased with this answer.

    It is no wonder that the film won many awards and was Oscar nominated for art direction, set design and costume design because the historical accuracy and beauty in all three categories is simply astounding.

    In fact, viewing the DVD with a good friend, she would comment after a particular scene that she was sure she had seen "that" painting before. Going back over the film, one can almost detect past master works of that time. It would be interesting to investigate this further and possibly connect certain scenes with actual paintings of the period.

    The soundtrack composed by Alexandre Desplat, also nominated for many awards including the Oscar for The Queen (2006) and the Golden Globe for The Painted Veil and Girl with a Pearl Earring, is both beautiful and haunting.

    In itself, Girl with a Pearl Earring is a true work of art. The time spent and attention to detail certainly showed in the final product.

    Director Peter Webber (Hannibal Rising 2007) managed a very young Scarlett Johansson to perform with mature restraint, concentrating on her expression, particularly those wonderful eyes.

    An absolute 5 star rating...






    ...more info