Girl with a Pearl Earring

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 55
  2. Negative: 7 out of 55

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User Reviews

  1. MichelleH.
    Apr 6, 2004
    2
    Well it has to be said that only a certain type of person that likes boring art/fest movies can endure this. i am only pleased that i had free tickets because if i had paid i would have been ticked off! i waited and waited for the exciting part which didn't come and at the time i said...the director must have said *all act your weirdest and let's make a movie!*
  2. JoH.
    Feb 6, 2005
    10
    This movie will take your breathe away. Definitely a piece of art in motion.
  3. CameronS.
    Feb 27, 2004
    10
    Girl With a Pearl Earring is a beautiful film that appears as if it were composed as if it were an actual painting. Scarlett Johannson plays Griet, the title character. An illiterate maiden of Johannes Vermeer, a very popular and skilled artist of the time, he only made about 35 paintings. Vermeer?s wife had eleven or so children. You don?t see too many of them in the movie, but that?s Girl With a Pearl Earring is a beautiful film that appears as if it were composed as if it were an actual painting. Scarlett Johannson plays Griet, the title character. An illiterate maiden of Johannes Vermeer, a very popular and skilled artist of the time, he only made about 35 paintings. Vermeer?s wife had eleven or so children. You don?t see too many of them in the movie, but that?s probably because they haven?t all been made yet. She was quite the productive type and he was not. The film takes place in Holland, 1665. It is a quiet, subtle, minimalist film that is more concerned with its story and characters and colors to worry much about anything else. At a swift 95 minutes, it leaves no fat to chop. A more popular, experienced director with a bigger budget would have made some scenes that play out as it isn?t a very big deal would have blown everything up, spent more time and money setting it up, and would have given the scene way too much dialogue and make the scene seem bigger than it is. Take for example when Vermeer models his wife?s pearl earring?s as an example for what he wants out Griet; or when the mother-in-law pays her to model for the painting. It is played off as if it is without much consequence, and I really liked it like that. Scarlett Johansson?s performance is one of the premiere performances of the year, because she tells us everything with her face. Should this be a parable of the actually painting, a completely fictional story inspired most solely on one painting, one image. She demonstrates everything through her eyes and her facial expressions, much as she did in Lost in Translation. Griet?s interactions with Vermeer are about discovery. Take for example when she is first asks for permission to wash the windows in the painting studio, for she fears the changing of light will make things difficult for Vermeer. He also asks her once what colors are in the sky, at first she just says white, but then takes a real look at it and tells him all sorts of colors. This leads us to believe that she very well could have been a painter in a different time. But in a different time, Vermeer could have just split Holland with her and move somewhere else, divorce his wife and pay atrocious child support bills for the rest of his life with Griet. Van Rujiven, who wants his next painting to be of him and others in a pub with a lovely girl serving him, commissioned Vermeer?s paintings of the time. He selects Griet, which forces her to remain in the house longer, contrary to the wife?s wishes, but not in contrast to the mother-in-law, who is more concerned with income that she is with her daughter?s feelings. The painting will go on. There is a very sexual undertone to the film. When she is asked to take her cap off, it is like her undressing to reveal her nude beauty, though it is just her hair. And when Vermeer pierces her ear with a pearl piece, it is a penetration of sorts featuring a release of blood. For anyone thinking that the film is boring or dull, think again for there is some emotional instability along the way. (Explain Pieter.) Griet develops a boyfriend-like character named Pieter (Cillian Murphy from 28 Days Later) who fancies seeing her hair unlocked. The film has been nominated for three Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Art Direction. Because neither Peter Pan nor Lord of the Rings received nods for cinematography, it is the best of the five nominated. It reflects everything cinematography is about, colors and compositions. The films camerawork is done as if it were a real painting. The colors used by the director are strokes of beauty painted all over the place, much like Peter Jackson did with his little films. Expand
  4. [Anonymous]
    May 12, 2004
    5
    I like it a little, nothing i would just buy of 1st pick, not even a 5th pick. i had to watch it for one of my english class, as an evaluative essay.
  5. EnglishStudent
    May 13, 2004
    4
    I just read the book and i have to say... it isn't very good. I just read the comment of Cameron S why she gave it a ten. I can understand if you want to give such a movie a 10 but don't go spreading around that peter jackson makes LITTLE movies... these little movies made more money in 2 days then the girl with the pearl earring will make in 2 years.
  6. MarcusB.
    May 18, 2004
    10
    It's a telling sign that so many viewers are criticizing this movie for its slow pace or lack of "plot". Since when do films absolutely have to have fast paced, clear-cut storylines that even the bridge and tunnel crowd can follow? This is the antithesis to the cookie cutter storylines normally coming out of Hollywood. No car chases, no magically satisfying ending where all is neatly It's a telling sign that so many viewers are criticizing this movie for its slow pace or lack of "plot". Since when do films absolutely have to have fast paced, clear-cut storylines that even the bridge and tunnel crowd can follow? This is the antithesis to the cookie cutter storylines normally coming out of Hollywood. No car chases, no magically satisfying ending where all is neatly tied together (Americans do love their happy endings...), no emphasis on triumph of the spirit (the "I can do it if I apply myself" illusion). Just life. Expand
  7. MarcusB.
    May 18, 2004
    10
    It's a telling sign that so many viewers are criticizing this movie for its slow pace or lack of "plot". Since when do films absolutely have to have fast paced, clear-cut storylines that even the bridge and tunnel crowd can follow? This is the antithesis to the cookie cutter storylines normally coming out of Hollywood. No car chases, no magically satisfying ending where all is neatly It's a telling sign that so many viewers are criticizing this movie for its slow pace or lack of "plot". Since when do films absolutely have to have fast paced, clear-cut storylines that even the bridge and tunnel crowd can follow? This is the antithesis to the cookie cutter storylines normally coming out of Hollywood. No car chases, no magically satisfying ending where all is neatly tied together (Americans do love their happy endings...), no emphasis on triumph of the spirit (the "I can do it if I apply myself" illusion). Just life. Expand
  8. KatS.
    Dec 13, 2003
    9
    A movie of subtlety and beauty. More action beneath the surface with its wealth of "interior" acting and minimal dialog. Not for everyone, but I thought it was touching and exquisite.
  9. MarcK.
    Dec 9, 2003
    6
    Completely mediocre. I guess I liked Scarlett Johansson better in "Ghost World" and "The Man Who Wasn't There" before she became the latest flavor of the month.
  10. JimH.
    Jan 23, 2004
    7
    Like watching an exquisite painting . . . dry.
  11. LarryB.
    Jan 31, 2004
    3
    An unfortunate directorial debut - disjointed and forced. What on earth was the prissy, bitchy little daughter doing in this movie? To aggravate the audience who was anxious to see this unintelligible plot play out? And poor Firth, little dialogue and one expression - henpecked, confused, and frustrated passion. And no lines worth speaking. And what was going on with the mother - in - law An unfortunate directorial debut - disjointed and forced. What on earth was the prissy, bitchy little daughter doing in this movie? To aggravate the audience who was anxious to see this unintelligible plot play out? And poor Firth, little dialogue and one expression - henpecked, confused, and frustrated passion. And no lines worth speaking. And what was going on with the mother - in - law and the earrings? The movie was beautiful, unquestionably and the lighting was masterful - portraiture in moving color. Incredible. Johnnsen's expressions were exquisite - her eyes had it. But for the rest - faggedit. LMB Expand
  12. N.Jordan
    Jan 4, 2004
    4
    This movie didn't live up to the book. Very disappointed several important details from the book were omitted.
  13. BillS.
    Jan 8, 2004
    9
    A beautiful, quietly emotional work of cinema canvas. Each scene like a Vermeer painting unto itself, each subtle nuance of emotion and sensuality worth a thousand words (which are in enigmatically short supply from the talented and heartbreakingly beautiful Scarlett Johansson). The previous comments posted here ring very true. Not a film for those looking for something shallow, loud and A beautiful, quietly emotional work of cinema canvas. Each scene like a Vermeer painting unto itself, each subtle nuance of emotion and sensuality worth a thousand words (which are in enigmatically short supply from the talented and heartbreakingly beautiful Scarlett Johansson). The previous comments posted here ring very true. Not a film for those looking for something shallow, loud and artificial. Expand
  14. KenM.
    Feb 22, 2004
    3
    60 minutes into this cinematically truthful tale, my wife, usually the forebearing one, groans, "What's this all about?". I have to silently agree, the movie so lacked character formation or a compelling plot as to simply bore you to curiosity and leave you like a flat can of soda at the conclusion. One lady down front actually expelled pain-filled air when the credits began rolling. 60 minutes into this cinematically truthful tale, my wife, usually the forebearing one, groans, "What's this all about?". I have to silently agree, the movie so lacked character formation or a compelling plot as to simply bore you to curiosity and leave you like a flat can of soda at the conclusion. One lady down front actually expelled pain-filled air when the credits began rolling. I wouldn't even recommend renting this film later. Expand
  15. TracyR.
    Mar 31, 2004
    7
    A little too cautious and careful a movie to be a perfect 10, it is literate, interesting and beautifully fragile. restrained acting and subtle direction make it a quiet pleasure to watch if you just let it sneak up on you. Kudos for Scarlett Johanssen for acting physically with her body. Her position on things as they were happening were crystal clear although the dialogue really A little too cautious and careful a movie to be a perfect 10, it is literate, interesting and beautifully fragile. restrained acting and subtle direction make it a quiet pleasure to watch if you just let it sneak up on you. Kudos for Scarlett Johanssen for acting physically with her body. Her position on things as they were happening were crystal clear although the dialogue really didn't tell you. Now that's acting. Expand
  16. SteveG.
    May 15, 2004
    4
    A slight domestic movie - not unpleasant but not especially engaging - though a little too full of repressed emotions, smoldering looks and unexpressed feelings to really spark. There was a distinct feeling of a short story projected too large for its own good, especially when in the quiet moments you begin to notice how the director worked the same set.
  17. Luis
    Jul 22, 2004
    2
    The only good feature of this film would be the "Vermeer lighting", if it hadn't been used to excess. Beautiful effects, but too artificial. It may be evening, it may be morning or afternoon, it may be raining or snowing outside, no matter; there is still beautiful light streaming through the windows of the Vermeer house. Even at night, when the maid is using a lantern to light her The only good feature of this film would be the "Vermeer lighting", if it hadn't been used to excess. Beautiful effects, but too artificial. It may be evening, it may be morning or afternoon, it may be raining or snowing outside, no matter; there is still beautiful light streaming through the windows of the Vermeer house. Even at night, when the maid is using a lantern to light her way, her face gets beautiful side lighting. The effect is jarring. As for the plot and characters, they are clichés: the brooding, misunderstood artist, the shy but oh so smart maid who does understand Art, the artist's wife who does not understand Art, the tyrannical mother-in-law who, needless to say, doesn't understand Art either, and so on, and so forth. Writers and filmmakers should not try to substitute somebody else's--in this case Vermeer's--genius for their own lack of talent. Expand
  18. RichardM.
    Jul 27, 2005
    9
    I thought the tension that was created in the book was expertally portrayed in the film, with Tracey Chevalier's messages coming through loud and clear.
  19. DaveT.
    Dec 10, 2003
    9
    Excellent period film, engaging despite the slow pace and limited dialogue. Beautifully filmed and enjoyable even for those unfamiliar with Vermeer.
  20. DougS.
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    A masterpiece !
  21. NoreenH.
    Dec 29, 2003
    9
    Beautiful, understated, Colin Firth. Not for basketball fans and Nascar Dads.
  22. MitchM.
    Dec 7, 2004
    8
    A fascinating glimpse at the stultifying life of the lowlands middle class, with carefully rendered details and a transcendent performance by Scarlett Johansson that is mesmerizing.
  23. Kecia
    Apr 28, 2004
    8
    Am I the only one that nearly knocked my drink over every time Vermeer so much as walked past Griet? Scarlett Johansson is inspiringly beautiful, and the camera focuses lovingly on her fine wide nose and touchable lips. I was pleasantly suprised, having seen it for the first time last night, that a movie with so little heavy drama could have me on the edge of my seat, clenching my toes Am I the only one that nearly knocked my drink over every time Vermeer so much as walked past Griet? Scarlett Johansson is inspiringly beautiful, and the camera focuses lovingly on her fine wide nose and touchable lips. I was pleasantly suprised, having seen it for the first time last night, that a movie with so little heavy drama could have me on the edge of my seat, clenching my toes and holding my breath like it was a hollywood thriller at just the brush of the painter and the maid's hands. Expand
  24. MattR.
    May 18, 2004
    10
    Terrific film. Being so sick of overproduced Hollywood films where producers believe that action makes up for content and substance, this was a welcome respite. Terrific cinematography, wonderful acting and an overall captivating mood. To the reviewer who noted that Lord of the Rings made more money: so what? Do box office receipts equate film excellence? Of course not.
  25. DonaldO.
    May 31, 2004
    10
    A soft, inspired and delicately romantic film. It captures a special time, infuses it with unfulfilled, quiet passion, and seems to explain both the vision and motivation of an artist. Moreover, it poses questions in subtle ways that reveal themselves to viewers long after the credits roll. A splendid experience.
  26. PatC.
    Jul 29, 2004
    6
    A movie about a painting that has more life than the movie. I simply cannot believe it was that boring to be Dutch in the 1600s. Johansson is convincing as a supressed maid in a joyless stuck-up household. Almost mundane, but a must for appreciators of fine art, or those who might like to be. The one undeniable achievement of the film is its validation of Vermeer's masterpiece.
  27. S.Finn
    Dec 12, 2003
    5
    Just didn't work for me...I never cared about the characters or felt they were real. Beautifully and it seemed authentically shot, it looked like a Vermeer canvas.
  28. May 5, 2016
    8
    Girl with a Pearl Earring proves that Scarlett Johansson can even save a movie by very impressive acting. See this only if you're in it for her or if you want to see a great movie.
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. The actress (Scarlett Johansson) gives a nearly silent performance, yet the interplay on her face of fear, ignorance, curiosity, and sex is intensely dramatic.
  2. This is an art film in spades.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    An intelligent, visually ravishing adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's best-selling novel.