Girl With a Pearl Earring


Girl With a Pearl Earring

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 176

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 62,687


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.4/5

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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.

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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 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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News & Interviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

Critic Reviews for Girl With a Pearl Earring

All Critics (176) | Top Critics (43)

  • Little happens -- save for several family arguments and the artist worrying about money and the integrity of his ambition -- yet it is unforgettable, and, shot to look like a moving Vermeer painting, effortlessly profound.

    Dec 13, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Working from an intelligent, understated screenplay by Olivia Hetreed, director Peter Webber (an acclaimed documentarian) proceeds with a stunning assurance.

    Jan 30, 2004 | Rating: 5/5
  • 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.

    Jan 30, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A feast for the eyes.

    Jan 29, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • A virtual ricochet-fest of eyeball action. Those looks, those glares, those gapes, those gawks!

    Jan 22, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • A rare and elegant film bathed in the kind of soft, delicate light that can build unexpectedly to feelings of both anxiety and bliss.

    Jan 21, 2004 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    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


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.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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