Girl with a Pearl Earring (film)
|Girl with a Pearl Earring|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Webber|
|Produced by||Andy Paterson
|Screenplay by||Olivia Hetreed|
|Based on||Girl with a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Editing by||Kate Evans|
|Studio||UK Film Council
Archer Street Productions
|Distributed by||Pathé (UK)
Lions Gate Films (US)
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Box office||$31,466,789 (Worldwide)|
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 drama film directed by Peter Webber. The screenplay was adapted by screenwriter Olivia Hetreed based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, and Cillian Murphy. The film is named after a painting of the same name by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The film uses a bright color scheme as in Vermeer's paintings.
Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a shy girl living in the Dutch Republic in 1665. Her father, a Delftware painter, has recently gone blind, rendering him unable to work and putting his family in a precarious financial situation. Consequently, Griet is sent to work as a maid in the unhappy household of the painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth).
Griet works hard, almost wordlessly, in the lowest position in a harsh hierarchy, where even one of the Vermeer's children treats her spitefully. On a routine shopping trip outside the house, a butcher's son, Pieter (Cillian Murphy), is quickly taken with Griet, though she is slow to return his affections.
As Griet cleans Vermeer's studio, which his wife Catharina (Essie Davis) never enters, they become casually acquainted and he encourages her appreciation of painting, light and color. Vermeer gives her lessons in mixing paints and other tasks, taking care to keep this secret from his thin-lipped wife, who would react very jealously if she found out that her husband was spending time with Griet. In contrast, Vermeer's pragmatic mother-in-law, Maria Thins (Judy Parfitt), sees Griet as useful to Vermeer's career. Vermeer's rich patron Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson) notices Griet on a visit to the Vermeer household and asks the painter if he will give her up to him to work in his own house, a situation which ruined a previous girl. Vermeer refuses, but accepts a commission to paint a portrait of Griet for Van Ruijven.
As Vermeer secretly works on the eponymous painting, Catharina's growing jealousy of Griet becomes apparent. While Griet suffers through her fascination with Vermeer and his paintings, she also has to fend off Van Ruijven's attempt to rape her. Soon afterwards, Catharina's mother summons Griet, hands over her daughter's pearl earrings and instructs Griet to finish the painting while Catharina is away for the day. At the final painting session Vermeer pierces Griet's earlobe so she can wear one of the pearl earrings for the portrait; she then runs to Pieter to be consoled. In the aftermath, Pieter proposes marriage, but she turns him down. She then returns the earrings to Catharina's mother.
Catharina discovers that Griet used her earrings, accusing her mother of complicity and orders Vermeer to show her the painting he and Griet have been working on. Heartbroken that Vermeer does not consider her worthy of being painted because she "doesn't understand," Catharina tries but fails to destroy the painting, then banishes Griet from the house forever. Vermeer does not object, and Griet leaves the house in shock.
Later, Griet is visited by the cook from the house, who comes bearing a gift: a sealed packet containing the blue headscarf she wore in the painting, which is wrapped around Catharina's pearl earrings.
- Colin Firth as Johannes Vermeer
- Scarlett Johansson as Griet
- Tom Wilkinson as Pieter van Ruijven
- Cillian Murphy as Pieter
- Judy Parfitt as Maria Thins
- Essie Davis as Catharina Bolnes
- Anna Popplewell as Maertge
- Alakina Mann as Cornelia
The soundtrack was released in 2004 and composed by Alexandre Desplat.
Awards and nominations 
- 2003 - Camerimage Bronze Frog - Eduardo Serra
- 2003 - Dinard British Film Festival - Audience Award - Peter Webber
- 2003 - Dinard British Film Festival Golden Hitchcock - Peter Webber
- 2003 - San Diego Film Critics Society Award - Best Cinematography - Eduardo Serra
- 2003 - San Sebastián International Film Festival - Best Cinematography - Eduardo Serra
- 2003 - C.I.C.A.E. Award - Peter Webber
- 2004 - Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award - Best Cinematography - Eduardo Serra
- Academy Awards: Best Art Direction (Ben van Os), Best Cinematography (Eduardo Serra), Best Costume Design (Dien van Straalen)
- BAFTAs: Best British Film, Best Score (Alexandre Desplat), Best Cinematography (Eduardo Serra), Best Costume Design (Dien van Straalen), Best Makeup/Hair (Jenny Shircore), Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Supporting Actress (Judy Parfitt), Best Art Direction (Ben van Os), Best Adapted Screenplay (Olivia Hetreed), Carl Foreman Award (Peter Webber)
- British Independent Film Awards: Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson)
- Chicago Film Critics Association Awards: Best Cinematography (Eduardo Serra)
- Golden Globes: Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson), Best Score (Alexandre Desplat)
- London Critics Circle Film Awards: Best Actress (Scarlett Johansson)
- Official website
- Girl with a Pearl Earring at the Internet Movie Database
- Girl with a Pearl Earring at AllRovi
- Girl with a Pearl Earring at Box Office Mojo
- Girl with a Pearl Earring at Rotten Tomatoes