23 thoughts on “TBT: Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)

  1. I love Vermeer’s paintings, and had high hopes of this, but could only stand about fifteen minutes of it. Dull dull DULL, and I’m no fan of miss SJ. It does look fab though

  2. I thought this much anticipated movie was a snooze. I agree there was little chemistry between the 2 and the unspoken relationship between them wasn’t believable. Scarlett had a single moon-y, hesitant expression on her face the entire time. Firth was so bland.

  3. I am headdesking. I read the book years ago and never saw the movies, but two details from the screenshots infuriate me. One is the lack of stays on the maids an young girl. Second is the pearl jewelry. They were super valuable before culturing took off. Selling a well matched necklace of large, shiny pearls would ease a lot of the Vermeer family’s financial worries.

  4. Mixed feelings about the men’s clothes. The compromise was OK, but blah. On the other hand, this was the worst period for men’s clothes ever. The petticoat breeches in particular were the worst. Pepys reports that he went one entire day with both his legs through the same leg of the breeches and never noticed.

    1. That is so funny! Hammer pants, historical style. Although I personally rather like the men’s styles of the period I can see how they would be…inconvenient in that way. :-)

    2. HAH. I rather enjoy the look of petticoat breeches – but I love silly clothing. I just wish the men’s doublets here had some kind of shape other than “straight”.

    3. I agree about this being a godawful time for male fashion. On the other hand, I’m not sure Firth’s post-P&P reputation would/could have survived petticoat breeches. (Think of Richard Harris as Oliver Cromwell…)

  5. I’ve never seen the film but read the book long ago. It puzzled me that someone would try to film such an “interior” narrative.

    1. Yeah it is weird when they try to do that (as with so many novel adaptations), and it’s really, really difficult. I don’t mind ScarJo but aside from her look being appropriate she isn’t up to the task of portraying such a quiet character.

      There are actors who can do that “watch the cogwheels of thought turning in my mind” thing, but they’re pretty rare. (1995 “Persuasion”’s leads come to mind, Idris Elba’s really good at it in lots of roles.) It’s a skill she just doesn’t have at this point in her career (I haven’t seen “Under the Skin” so idk if she’s developed it).

  6. I had forgotten how painterly and lush the cinematography was in this movie! I agree that the story itself is kind of boring, but I love movies about artists and they got the imagery so right (obvs aside from the men’s costuming as you noted).
    Think I’ll give this a rewatch, especially for Essie Davis. And talk about casting people who look like people from that era! Essie Davis is the best with her heart-shaped face, but the actress who plays Wilkinson’s trophy wife has that little double chin/weak chin that is so, so, of the period.

  7. I think the movie is beautiful, but the lack of chemistry between Firth and Scarlett doesn’t help sell their whole “sexual attraction underneath casual interactions” approach. I’m also starting to think she doesn’t do costume dramas well; she comes across as bland. Also, I forgot that was Esse Davis. She looks amazing in 20’s stuff. This? Not so much.

  8. I love Vermeer paintings as well and enjoyed the book immensely. Therefore, I had high hopes for the film. This is one time I believe having an actress in her 20s play Griet, as Miss Johansson (who I enjoy watching in later films)was a bit unfinished in her Griet.
    I enjoyed the women’s costumes and they did look like they stepped out of a Vermeer.

  9. ScarJo seems a wee bit due for a Woeful Woman Wednesday, doesn’t she? Same sort of deal as Carey Mulligan, just blah even when she’s wearing things that are pretty, accurate, or both. Or maybe Keira Knightley, in that she’s best suited to 20th century frock flicks, and even then, she can be clompy.

  10. I agree—very pretty movie, but i couldn’t get into the story. I felt like they were trying to cash in on Johanssen’s and Firth’s popularity at the time, and while i do like both actors, neither of them really fit this movie. Also: why tf do we always have to have boring-as-hell men’s clothes?? Just because current men’s fashions are boring af doesn’t mean they always were. Men’s clothes used to be just as fun and OTT as women’s clothes!

  11. Granted, it was a few years since I last watched this movie, but I like it! I’m not an expert on historical dress by any means but even as a teen I remember watching it and appreciating that they had obviously put some effort into the costumes and hair (on the ladies, at least). Small details like the women wearing caps and the fabrics looking actually worn really butters my croissant. I even remember liking how bleak and “realistic” it was! I might be biased though because I had huge crushes on Scarlett Johansson and Cillian Murphy both, and because I developed an interest in 1600s art after watching this movie in film class.

  12. The story was so dull, but the look was luscious enough to keep watching. The promo shots with metal grommets showing are not the same as the ones in the movie. You can see the differences if you look close. Coincidentally, I used to work at one of Amsterdam’s most established costume rental shops, and the bodice Scarlet J wears in the promo shot could have come from that collection. We had tonnes of good to great Dutch golden age pieces.

  13. We saw it in the Cinema, when it came out.
    I liked the way Colin Firth played a disenchanted painter, who is the prisoner of his marriage.
    Scarlett Johansson was perfect for the role. Young (OK looking a bit too old for the role) and shy. I was especially pleased with the treating of the social barriers.
    The costumes were OK, although I share your impression about the man’s costumes. These decissions made them just looking boring.
    I think that it is easier to enjoy the film from the point of view of an reenactor, who is happy, when he see a nice kitchen, the expenditure for a dinner party etc..

    Why did you ignored Griet’s boyfriend? I liked his dress and thought that he was a interesting character.

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