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
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 has 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 that she was pleased with the results. See more »
As Vermeer starts to paint Griet he is wearing a shirt that ties at the collar. At the easel it is tied loosely in a double knot baring some of his upper chest. When Griet goes into the storeroom and Vermeer follows and stares at her the strings of the shirt are now tied tightly to his neck. 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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