Girl With A Pearl Earring

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Whether you have read the book or not, this adaption of Tracy Chevalier’s bestselling novel, Girl with A Pearl Earring is a superb exploration of artistic inspiration and frustrated sexual attraction. Griet comes to the house of Dutch master Vermeer as a young maid-servant with no more in mind than the money she must earn for her impoverished family. Vermeer, played by a smouldering Colin Firth, who, seeking inspiration for his next project, is captivated by Griet’s innocence and artistic sensitivity. She in turn becomes increasingly absorbed by the painting and by Vermeer himself. The result is a portrait haunted by longing and unfulfilled desire. Scarlett Johanssen is perfect in the role of Griet. Her fresh complexion works as a bare canvass for her expressions, crucial to our understanding of her character, since her part is almost entirely devoid of dialogue. The chemistry between her and Firth is tantalisingly suggestive throughout. Director Peter Webber’s greatest achievement is to exploit the visual effects particular to the medium – the lighting and cinematography create scenes apparently lifted straight from the art that is the film’s subject.Archive: 0th week HT 2004

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