Girl With a Pearl Earring (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2004)



Critic Consensus: Visually arresting, but the story could be told with a bit more energy.

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Movie Info

A speculative account of the life of Griet, a 16-year-old girl who appears in Johannes Vermeer's painting of the same title. Set in 17th century Holland, Griet is employed by Vermeer as a housemaid to care for his six children, his jealous pregnant wife and his uncommunicative mother-in-law. Tensions arise when Vermeer's wife suspects intimacy between her husband and the girl--and then climax, when the wife discovers that Griet borrowed her precious pearl earrings to sit for the now famous portrait.more
Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content)
Genre: Drama, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Olivia Hetreed, Tracy Chevalier
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 4, 2004
Box Office: $11.5M
Exhibition On Screen - Official Site


Colin Firth
as Johannes Vermeer
Tom Wilkinson
as Van Ruijven
Judy Parfitt
as Maria Thins
Essie Davis
as Catharina
Alakina Mann
as Cornelia
Chris McHallem
as Griet's Father
Gabrielle Reidy
as Griet's Mother
Nathan Nepper
as Johannes
Lola Carpenter
as Baby Franciscus
Charlotte Carpenter
as Baby Franciscus
Olivia Chauveau
as Baby Franciscus
Geoff Bell
as Paul The Butcher
Virginie Colin
as Emilie Van Ruijven
Sarah Drews
as Van Ruijven's Daught...
John McEnery
as Apothecary
Claire Johnston
as White-Haired Woman
Marc Maes
as Old Gentleman
Dustin James
as Servant No.1
Joe Reavis
as Servant No.2
Martin Serene
as Servant No.3
Chris Kelly
as Gay Blade
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

Critic Reviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

All Critics (189) | Top Critics (44)

Older teens and adults will enjoy. Book is better.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

The film is an intriguing speculative account of the creation of one of Vermeer's most famous and sensual paintings. Every shot in the film looks like it was taken right out of a painting from Delft, Holland circa 1665...

Full Review… | May 9, 2009

The movie benefits greatly from Johansson's gift for understated delivery, but she's less assured in this demure, largely non-verbal role than she was as a modern young woman in Ghost World and Lost in Translation.

Full Review… | June 3, 2008
Paste Magazine

An entertaining but inauthentic adaptation, a production which reads more like a Hollywood teensploit than a historical epic from Holland.

Full Review… | April 25, 2007
Princeton Town Topics

... a movie about a kind of understanding that rarely passes between human beings; a solemn, sacred meeting of minds.

Full Review… | January 10, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Girl with the Pearl Earring is about the liberating and inspiring experience of being seen.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Audience Reviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring


An intriguing drama centered on the strong sexual tension between Johannes Vermeer and a woman who would supposedly become the subject of his most famous painting - but even if visually stunning, the result could have been a bit more involving.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Beauty inspires obsession.

Good movie yet slow. While the story is obviously not true, I find the concept of theorizing about the origination of great works of art intriguing. Unfortunately, the film 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' directed by Peter Webber wasn't as enjoyable. The film was admitted beautiful, particularly the cinematography. There were some beautifully framed shots that looked like they would have inspired any of Vermeer's Baroque contemporaries. I found the performances to be hollow and boring. It takes a special film to coast on its merits merely by looking pretty, but 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' is not one of them. While I encourage the study of great artists, this is just too boring of a representation. Watch only if your a fan of Scarlett or Firth.

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.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Visually this film about the creation of Vermeer's famous painting from the 1600s is very pleasing. The majority of the shots look like paintings themselves at first glance. The cast is also excellent. So why did this not work for me? Maybe you have to be into art to appreciate the story of the making of a painting and all the components that have to come together. Maybe you have to be a history buff to acknowledge how big a deal it was to paint a servant girl back then. Fact is, the film did not reach me on an emotional level, its problems did not touch me. I didn't expect this to be nail-biting exciting, and you gotta give the creators credit for not causing drama just for drama's sake, but in the end I just thought: "That was it? What was all the fuzz about?"

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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