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Movie Review

Movie: Girl With a Pearl Earring
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth
Released: 2004
Directed by: Peter Webber
Rated: PG-13

available at

Synopsis: Griet is hired as a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer to help support her family. Receiving a less-than-warm reception into the family, Griet struggles to perform the many duties required of her to maintain the household of an upper middle class family with several children in 17th century Holland. Griet proves herself a very industrious and dependable servant but instead of receiving praise, becomes an object of scorn to Vermeerís wife and daughter when Vermeer chooses to allow Griet into his private studio to assist him with his work. When a wealthy art patron, from whom the family needs a commission, wants Griet to be the subject of his next painting, intrigues develop that lead to the creation of Vermeerís famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Editorís Review: At its core, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a study of power and entrapment. Nearly everyone has personal desires that they must depend upon someone else to provide: Vermeer longs for someone to understand his love of painting, his wife wants the attention of her cool and distant husband as well as status in society, and Griet wants to keep her job in order to provide for her family. Only the art patron can afford to be fickle in his desires and he is the one to whom they all must unwillingly pander to ensure their financial security. Although the pace of the movie is slow, the developing relationship between Griet and Vermeer and the rising tension in the household are engaging enough to make the viewer want to see what will happen next. Scarlett Johansson does an excellent job of portraying quiet and vulnerable Griet whose curiosity is in conflict with her desire to maintain her morality (and her job) and Colin Firth, as the enigmatic Vermeer, displays the power to entrance as he pushes her to the edge of discomfort with his physical and emotional advances. Although fictional, the story is entirely plausible, and makes for an absorbing tale about the famous painting.

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Diana Blake is a professional artist and art history enthusiast. Her fascination with art history began when she encountered European art firsthand during several trips abroad as a young adult. As she began to compose a portfolio for her own art career, she called upon what she had seen in Europe and extended her knowledge to other styles of art through profuse reading and exhaustive research. As a result, Diana has written more than one hundred articles in which she delves into a variety of art history topics and she has compiled a list of links that she believes to be invaluable for art history enthusiasts. In addition, she also reviews books and movies on the topic of art history and has assembled an extensive list of online stores that sell books, movies and gift items related to art history.
   You can see Diana's own artwork by visiting her site at