Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

 Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

Director: Peter Webber

Writers: Olivia Hetreed, based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier

Stars: Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt, Cillian Murphy, Essie Davis, Joanna Scanlan

Based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier, this film tells the story behind the Vermeer painting that shares its title with the film.

In this imagining, the model is Griet (Scarlett Johanssen), a peasant girl with a natural artistic temperament. 

Before long, she and the painter Vermeer (Colin Furth) recognize each other as kindred souls who understand each other because they both understand and love the technique and artistry of painting. 

Thankfully, this film does not have them fall into bed together but rather recognizes that such a union could never come to pass. 

In this way, it is a poignant story of lost opportunity and unrequitable passion. 

This film also presents a fascinating, detailed, beautifully photographed portrait of life in 17th century Holland. 

I was also intrigued by its take on the artist/patron relationship. 

Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson) is well aware of the power he holds over Vermeer and his large family, and he is subtly cruel in the way he lords it over them.


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