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. By the time new funding was secured, Newell had 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 the 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. Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth were then cast. See more »
When Vermeer shows Griet the camera obscura, the scene that is set up for the painting is the one he just sold of the woman examining the pearls in the mirror. But when Griet looks into the camera, it's the scene with the woman at the window. See more »
I can't imagine a lot of people, especially anyone under 40, sitting through this extremely slow film....but I thought it was excellent. However, I am biased because I love great cinematography and stories about famous painters. Sometimes the cameras stay on subject longer than normal, affording the viewer time to really soak it up.
If you can stay awake, 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. 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.
One time, I watched this film very early in the morning, something I rarely do, and with the subtitles on. It wasn't a bad way to watch it - a quiet film in the quiet of the pre-dawn hours . The film offers another demonstration of why doesn't have to shed all their clothes to be erotic. This inspired me to read the book, and I enjoyed that, too.
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