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Girl With a Pearl Earring (2004)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 174
Fresh: 125 | Rotten: 49

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


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 9

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 60,167

My Rating

Movie Info

The subject of one of Johannes Vermeer's most enduring portraits becomes the focus of this biographical period piece from director Peter Webber. Girl With a Pearl Earring is told from the point of view of Griet (Scarlett Johansson), a teenaged girl who leaves her family's care in the country to become a servant for the Vermeer household in the comparatively bustling, canal-laden burgh of Delft. When she arrives, she finds herself at the low end of the servant totem pole, until she's allowed to



Tracy Chevalier, Olivia Hetreed

May 4, 2004


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All Critics (187) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (125) | Rotten (49) | DVD (19)

Working from an intelligent, understated screenplay by Olivia Hetreed, director Peter Webber (an acclaimed documentarian) proceeds with a stunning assurance.

January 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Lavish attention to historical detail, the thorough immersion in this unusual world and Johansson's impressive performance make Girl With a Pearl Earring memorable but not a masterpiece.

January 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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A feast for the eyes.

January 29, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A virtual ricochet-fest of eyeball action. Those looks, those glares, those gapes, those gawks!

January 22, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
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A rare and elegant film bathed in the kind of soft, delicate light that can build unexpectedly to feelings of both anxiety and bliss.

January 21, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
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The picture is simply ravishing, but at times it falls prey to its own contemplations.

January 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Older teens and adults will enjoy. Book is better.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
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...

May 9, 2009 Full Review Source:

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.

June 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

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

April 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

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

January 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Like the finest of Vermeer's paintings, the film's richly textured elements blend perfectly, unforgettably framed.

October 14, 2004 Full Review

Girl gives us a vividly painted world but only patchily drawn characters - in that sense, it gets Vermeer only half right

September 30, 2004

A fascinating concept that loses its luster on screen.

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Oregon Herald

Girl with a pearl earring (...) is a movie of few words and beautiful pictures, and the story is as understated as the acting.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

A terrifically realised film, startlingly emotional and wonderfully visceral.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Scarlett Johansson, 19, has a matureness beyond her years.

June 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

To watch Girl With a Pearl Earring is to sense that one great photograph after another is unfolding before the eyes.

May 14, 2004

Beautiful looking but the story could've been much better.

May 10, 2004

... the true star of this film is Eduardo Serra, who should have had the Oscar. Sweeping fantasy vistas are easy; creating a sensual feast through the camera's lens is hard.

April 6, 2004
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Every year or so a movie gets released that is cherished more for its look than its actual content.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

The novel is trimmed down to almost a vignette telling the story of the model for Vermeer's most famous painting. This is art director Christina Schaffer's film.

March 25, 2004 Full Review

Webber's film drips with art, but it doesn't exactly inspire deeply felt emotion.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

You don't have to know much about the artist Johannes Vermeer to be enchanted by "The Girl With the Pearl Earring."

March 13, 2004 Full Review
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

La cinematografía de Eduardo Serra logra que la luz sea un personaje más, uno de importancia más allá de la historia.

February 29, 2004

Audience Reviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

An intriguing drama that focuses on the strong sexual tension between Johannes Vermeer and a woman who would supposedly become the subject of his most famous painting. Even if visually stunning, the result could have been more involving.
July 21, 2013

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.
August 3, 2012
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?"
March 26, 2012

Super Reviewer

This movie, in my humble opinion, is targeted for audience with peculiar sense. The pearl's value didn't quite add up to much entertainment, and the earring was not as close to heart as it was to ears. The performances didn't matter to me in this case. But if it helps any, every actor/actress excelled his/her role.

As for me, I was a bit disappointed for sure by the time the movie abruptly ended. I wasn't as much surprised as displeased by its abrupt ending. Despite knowing that the abrupt ending is due, I was still expecting something better or worse than how they've chosen to end it. But this one turned out to be a unique piece of... well, art, I guess!!! Thank Heavens that I was already feeling a bit uncomfortable. Somehow, instead of adding fuel to the fire, the movie's experience got mixed in its flow. (Rest assured, my disappointment with the movie had no relation with my pre-uncomfortable feeling whatsoever.) With a generous heart, I rate it 2.5/10.

So, that all, of course, was my experience and opinion for the "Girl With A Pearl Earring". I give you the freedom to differ.
December 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Das Mädchen mit einem Perlenohrring (DE)
  • La Jeune fille à la perle (FR)
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