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Girl with a Pearl Earring (film): Wikis


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Girl with a Pearl Earring

Theatrical poster
Directed by Peter Webber
Produced by Andy Paterson
Anand Tucker
Written by Olivia Hetreed
Tracy Chevalier (novel)
Starring Colin Firth
Scarlett Johansson
Tom Wilkinson
Essie Davis
Cillian Murphy
Judy Parfitt
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Eduardo Serra
Editing by Kate Evans
Distributed by Pathé
Release date(s) August 31, 2003 (2003-08-31) (Telluride)
02004-01-16 January 16, 2004
Running time 95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $12 million[1]

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 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.



Vermeer's original painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring from 1665

Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a young woman living in the Netherlands in the 1660s. Her father, a ceramic painter, has recently gone blind, rendering him unable to work and putting his family in dire straits. Griet is subsequently sent to work as a maid in the home of the painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth).

In the course of their interactions as master and servant, Vermeer and Griet become casually acquainted and he learns of her interest in painting and her knowledge of color and artistic composition. Vermeer subsequently begins giving her lessons in mixing paints and other tasks, taking care to keep their meetings secret from his wife Catharina (Essie Davis), who would react very negatively if she found out that Griet and Vermeer were spending so much time together. In contrast, Vermeer's pragmatic mother-in-law (Judy Parfitt) sees Griet as a catalyzing and stabilizing force in Vermeer's career. On a routine trip outside the house, Griet also befriends a young man named Pieter (Cillian Murphy), the Vermeers' butcher's son, who is quickly taken with her, though she is slow to return his affections. Vermeer's patron Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson) sees 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. When Vermeer refuses, Van Ruijven commissions him to paint a portrait of Griet for him. Vermeer accepts the commission, both to remain in Van Ruijven's good graces and because of his own fascination with Griet. As Vermeer secretly works on the eponymous painting, he and Griet grow closer. While Griet suffers through her fascination with Vermeer and his paintings, she also has to fend off Van Ruijven's attempt to rape her (which is thwarted when Catharina calls for Griet). Soon afterward, Catharina's mother summons Griet and informs her that Catharina is to be away for the day, then hands over her daughter's pearl earrings and instructs Griet to finish the painting today. After the final painting session in which Vermeer pierces Griet's earlobe so she can wear one of his wife's pearl earrings for the portrait, Griet returns the earrings to Catharina's mother and runs to Pieter to be consoled.

Catharina's growing jealousy of Griet becomes more and more apparent, and she finally discovers the theft of her earrings, accusing her mother of complicity and ordering 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 banishes Griet from the house forever. Vermeer does not object, and Griet leaves the house in shock. Later, she is visited by one of her friends from the house, who comes bearing a gift: a sealed packet containing the blue scarf she wore in the painting, which is wrapped around Catharina's pearl earrings.


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



The soundtrack was released in 2004 and composed by Alexandre Desplat.

Differences between the novel and the film

  • Most of the events in the novel's epilogue, such as Griet's marriage to Pieter and their two children, Jan and Frans, are not shown in the film.
  • In the novel, there is a subplot involving Griet's younger sister, who eventually dies from the plague.
  • In the novel, van Leeuwenhoek warns Griet not to get too close to Vermeer, but he is absent from the film and his lines are given to Pieter.
  • In the novel, Griet and Tanneke have a difficult relationship, but in the movie, they seem to get along. This is shown by Tanneke's teasing Griet about Pieter and her willingness to chat and gossip.[2]
  • In the novel, Griet pierces her left and right earlobe herself. In the film, Vermeer pierces the left one for her, while she does not have to pierce her right lobe.


  1. ^ Delesse, Olivier (2002 October 3-6). "Dinard Awards Two Top Prizes to 'Girl' (Pathé film budget)". Dinard British Film Festival ( 
  2. ^ David Morrissey played Van Leeuwenhoek in the film's original cut but his scenes were deleted from the completed film (Williams, Zoe (12 November 2005). "Up for the big league," The Guardian, Guardian News and Media.)

External links


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