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Girl With A Pearl Earring [VHS] [2004]

109 customer reviews

RRP: £12.99
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Product details

  • Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt, Cillian Murphy
  • Directors: Peter Webber
  • Writers: Olivia Hetreed, Tracy Chevalier
  • Producers: Anand Tucker, Andy Paterson, Anna Campeau, Bob Bellion, Cameron McCracken
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Pathe
  • VHS Release Date: 31 May 2004
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001KZNV0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,129 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In order to support her family, seventeen year old Griet becomes a maid in the house of Johannes Vermeer and soon attracts the master painter’s attention. Although worlds apart in upbringing and social standing, Vermeer recognizes her intuitive understanding of his work and slowly draws her into his mysterious world of art and passion.

Whilst she falls increasingly under Vermeer’s spell, his volatile family quickly grows jealous of her. Maria, his shrewd mother-in-law, struggles to maintain the family’s lifestyle, but seeing that Griet inspires Vermeer, takes the decision to let their relationship develop. Van Ruijven, also sensing the intimacy between master and maid, commissions Vermeer to paint Griet’s portrait. The result will be one of the greatest paintings ever created … but at what cost?


You wouldn't think a movie could look like a Vermeer painting, but Girl with a Pearl Earring is filmed with an amazing range of luminous glows that evoke the Dutch artist's masterworks. Of course, it helps that much of the movie focuses on Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Ghost World), whose creamy skin and full lips have a luminosity of their own. Johansson plays Griet, a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), who finds herself in a web of jealousy, artistic inspiration, and social machinations. Though the pace is slow, Girl with a Pearl Earring genuinely conveys some sense of an artist's process, as well as offering many chaste yet sensual moments between Firth and Johansson. Also featuring Essie Davis as Vermeer's bitter wife and Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) as a wealthy patron with eyes for Griet. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Louise Stanley on 17 Aug. 2005
Format: DVD
This is just a fantastic film - the kind which keeps you guessing as to the reactions and intentions of the main characters until the end. Colin Firth increases his reputation as a dark, and, yes, smouldering leading man with his portrayal of Vermeer (he should beware of being typecast!), and his womenfolk are both well-rounded characters with believable actions as the keepers of a household struggling to maintain a lifestyle well beyond its means.
Scarlet Johanssen as Griet maintains the film's suspense, particularly as regards her hair - the scene where her coif comes off - albeit briefly - is one of the best scenes in the entire film, one that increases the tension of unrequited love maintaining its tense distance. The film is all the better for the restraint it shows in not making it a standard bodice ripper (as other films tend to overdo, particularly "La Reine Margot"). Also the hystrionics of Vermeer's wife at the end and the painter's final romantic guesture are all too believable and maintain the credibility and tension.
One hopes that Griet finds her fortune in the end.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2006
Format: DVD
I have just watched this movie for the second time, and I was as bewitched and as enchanted by it as the first time around. This movie is truly a classic! It's not just about an artist and art - but is art itself! The film is both 'moody' and very atmospheric. Every scene is an utter gem! The cast and performances are particularly outstanding. It is absolutely amazing how the actors have managed to project so much with such little dialogue, when compared to your average script. This is such a masterpiece for a modern production, and it will be very hard to find its equal. I could not find fault with this movie; the soundtrack - performances - casting - story - camera work - it's all there, and Judy Parfitt is amazing!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Priyan Meewella VINE VOICE on 1 July 2004
Format: DVD
Intense and mesmerising, Girl with a Pearl Earring is an incredibly subtle film about Vermeer's inspiration for the painting in question. It is a work of speculative fiction (adapted from Tracy Chevalier's novel) since little is actually known about the model at all. As such, it could so easily have gone very wrong, but is succeeds, and indeed shines, through the way it never becomes overly melodramatic, nor produces lurid revalations about a possible relationship. Instead, in perfect period style, it remains subdued and reflective, while being incredibly intimate at the same time.
In Holland around 1665, Griet [Scarlett Johannson] takes a job as a maid once her blind father is no longer able to work. The household in which she finds employment is that of master painter Johannes Vermeer [Colin Firth]. Though not educated, Griet has an understanding of Vermeer's art and talent which draws the two together, and finally Vermeer decides that Griet is to be the subject of his next painting.
Although Vermeer is clearly attracted to Griet, a beauitful but retiscently modest girl, we are not here to witness a scandalous extra-marital sexual affair. Indeed the two barely even touch throughout the entire piece. But that makes the momentary visual connections infinitely more intimite.
As a film about an artist and painting, I had expected strong use of bold colours but in fact the appearance is very washed out. This certainly fits the period mood of seventeenth century Holland, but more importantly allows Eduardo Serra's cinematography to focus on use of rich light and shadows that perfectly compliments (and to a degree pays homage to) Vermeer's own style. The incredible attention to detail, in both the set design and the way in which they are lit, is one of the focal points of this film.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD
Girl With a Pearl Earring is a genuine revelation, a quite remarkable film that pares down the narrative to concentrate on the unsaid, creating a remarkably sensual film in every sense of the word. That it looks beautiful should be and is a given, but more importantly it's a real piece of cinema. You really get a sense of the huge importance of art and the strong emotions it can unleash without resorting to speechifying or purple prose, just beautiful filmmaking that reveals a whole world with a subtle intensity: the wife's feeling of betrayal at the painting seems absolutely and horribly believable - it really is a far greater infidelity than if he had slept with her. There's a real sense of revelation to the film, a kind of early Christmas morning feeling. Scarlett Johansson is excellent, as for once is Colin Firth (a fine stage actor but all too often an uncomfortably constipated one on screen), but everything is just right about the movie. Quite superb.

There's a good selection of extras, although none of the deleted scenes include David Morrisey, whose part as a friend of Vermeer was cut entirely out of the film.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 30 May 2004
Format: DVD
There are films about painters ("Lust for Life") and painting ("The Agony and the Ecstasy"), but it is rare to find a film about the art of painting, and that is one of the great strengths of "Girl with a Pearl Earring." The film is based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier, with a screenplay by Olivia Hetreed, that imagines a whole story behind Johannes Vermeer's painting, "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1665-66) involving the Dutch painter, his family, and the model he used for what is his most famous and most intriguing painting.
Griet (Scarlett Johannson), is a young girl from a Calvinist family who has to seek employment as a maid in the Roman Catholic household of the famous painter. She is given her duties, one of which is to clean the upstairs studio, but only when the master is not busy painting. Even Vermeer's wife, Catharine (Essie Davis) will not enter that place, for reasons we will learn about later. Before she meets the artist (peter Firth), Griet sees his current painting, "Woman with a Pearl Necklace" (1664-65) and we can tell from her eyes that she is looking at something wondrous.
We know that Griet is no fool, because she refuses to accept bad meat from the local butcher, which causes his son, Pieter (Cillian Murphy), to notice her. But in the house she is beneath notice, told not to speak until spoken to first. One day she asks the ladies of the house, Catharina and her mother, Maria Thins (Judy Parfitt), if when she is cleaning the studio if she should do the windows. Her concern is that doing so would change the light. The women look at her without comprehension and Catharina tells her to go ahead and clean the windows.
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