This film, adapted from a work of fiction by author Tracy Chevalier, tells a story about the events surrounding the creation of the painting "Girl With a Pearl Earring" by 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Little is known about the girl in the painting, it is speculated that she was a maid who lived in the house of the painter along with his family and other servants, though there is no historical evidence. This masterful film attempts to recreate the mysterious girl's life. Griet, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a maid in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer, played by British actor Colin Firth. Vermeer's wealthy patron and sole means of support, Van Ruijven, commissions him to paint Griet with the intent that he will have her for himself before it is finished. She must somehow secretly pose for the crucial painting without the knowledge of Vermeer's wife, avoid Van Ruijven's grasp, and protect herself from the cruel gossip of the world of a 17th century servant. Written by
The film was originally slated to star Kate Hudson and Ralph Fiennes and be directed by Mike Newell. Hudson pulled out during pre-production (allegedly because she refused to wear a wimple for the role), which resulted in funding being pulled, and by the time new funding was secured, Newell had to move on to another project. After a director search, Peter Webber was tapped for the job and held auditions for a new female lead. He settled on Kirsten Dunst, who then dropped the project in wake of Spider-Man (2002)'s success. At this point, Fiennes had been waiting so long that he too had to move on to other scheduled projects, and so too became unavailable. Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth were then cast. See more »
After her ear has been pierced, Griet picks up the earring and begins to hand it to Vermeer. In the next shot, she is picking it up off the table again. See more »
"Girl with a Pearl Earring" tells a fictional tale about how the title painting by 17th century Dutch painter Vermeer might have come to be. Outwardly, the film is a story about the painter and a household maid who becomes the subject of the painting. Inwardly, the film is about the unspoken but palpable feelings between two people of very different stature and station which may or may not be forever cast in the crazed pigments of the masterpiece. Those who can tap into the subtle human emotional undercurrents will find this film far more satisfying than those who cannot. Regardless, all will find "Girl with a Pearl Earring" a masterpiece of filmmaking. (A-)
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