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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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.
PG-13 (for some sexual content)
Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Colin Firth
as Johannes Vermeer
Tom Wilkinson
as Van Ruijven
Judy Parfitt
as Maria Thins
Essie Davis
as Catharina
Joanna Scanlan
as Tanneke
Alakina Mann
as Cornelia
Chris McHallem
as Griet's Father
Gabrielle Reidy
as Griet's Mother
Rollo Weeks
as Frans
Anaïs Nepper
as Lisbeth
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 Daughter
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
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Critic Reviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

All Critics (174) | Top Critics (41)

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

January 30, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 30, 2004
Miami Herald
Top Critic

A feast for the eyes.

January 29, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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

January 22, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 21, 2004
New York Observer
Top Critic

The picture is simply ravishing, but at times it falls prey to its own contemplations.

Full Review… | January 16, 2004
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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
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
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.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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