Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Peter Webber (2003)

12 Certificate


Our Score
British director Peter Webber makes an astonishing feature debut with this ravishing period drama. Based on a bestselling novel by Tracy Chevalier, it's a fictionalised reconstruction of the story behind 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer's celebrated painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. Following her outstanding turn in Lost in Translation, Scarlett Johansson cements her golden girl status with a heartbreakingly brilliant portrayal of Vermeer's housemaid and eventual muse. Inadvertently drawn to the secretive artist (a brooding Colin Firth), she finds head and heart colliding to costly effect. Though a work of fiction, the exquisite tale feels authentic thanks to the strong central performances and a naturalistic script that avoids tawdry melodrama. Instead, the film's considerable emotional and erotic power comes from expectation and electric flashes of intimacy, with one look from Johansson enough to convey a thousand words. The Oscar-nominated cinematography is equally intoxicating, transforming every detailed frame into a richly coloured tableau vivant, while Alexandre Desplat's beautiful score adds extra intensity.


A girl takes up the job of maid in the household of the artist Vermeer - but her presence provokes friction in the family and the jealousy of his wife when the servant catches the painter's eye. Peter Webber's 17th-century period drama adapted from the best-selling novel by Tracy Chevalier, starring Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson, Judy Parfitt and Cillian Murphy.

Cast & Crew

Griet Scarlett Johansson
Johannes Vermeer Colin Firth
Van Ruijven Tom Wilkinson
Maria Thins Judy Parfitt
Pieter Cillian Murphy
Catharina Vermeer Essie Davis
Tanneke Joanna Scanlan
Cornelia Vermeer Alakina Mann
Griet's father Chris McHallem
Griet's mother Gabrielle Reidy
Maertge Anna Popplewell
Director Peter Webber
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: PathéGuidance: Contains brief nudityAvailable on: video and DVD