Friday, 16 September 2011

Film Review: Girl With the Pearl Earring

Starring: Scarlett Johansson (The Other Boleyn Girl), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Cillian Murphy (Inception), Tom Wilkinson (Shakespeare in Love),  Anna Popplewell (The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe)
Made in 2003 by Lion Gate Films in the UK
Filmed in London, Luxembourg, Amsterdam (Netherlands), Belguim
Directed by Peter Webber
Based on a novel by Tracy Chevalier

Ever since reading the novel version, I have wanted to see this film, having known the film before the novel. Also, I knew of the film early on, especially after watching the first modern St. Trinians where they steal the actual painting the book/film are based on ('Oh my god! You want us to steal Scarlett Johansson?!'). So when I came across a MASSIVE DVD section in the library at the college and found this, I had to get it out for the weekend.

The film was overall well done. It was filmed beautifully and really fulfilled what I expected. This is a stunning adaptation of the novel, there plots that are included are done to the best they could and it felt like I was watching Girl with a Pearl Earring, not just a version of it. Although I love adaptations of books, sometimes they can ruin the whole feel of a novel for me because of the film. I think many would agree with me. This, however, didn't do that. I feel I can still read the book, healthy in the knowledge that my mind can either revert to this when I think of what is happening in my mind or create a complete new version.

Scarlett Johansson was the best choice as Griet, although so me she spoke little, she was just as I imagined Griet and looked so much like the girl we all see in the painting, hence Chelsea's comment from St Trinians. She came across a lot like her world was spiralling out of control because of her innocence that every character plays on in good and bad ways for her.
Colin Firth as Vermeer, not something that I would have necessarily have chosen, but I guess I can see Colin doing the moody painter look, like he kind of has in other roles. His relationship with Griet was well played too and showed simply that they wanted to, you know, get together but they knew deep down they couldn't. - it is such a complicated relationship and they live together knowing that and Griet knows she can ask him things that she would know dare to ask his wife.
And the plus of Vermeer? It's Colin Firth. Yes, he's 50 but you know, I like him...hmm...

Anyway, there were a few surprise castings that I did not know where in it. Number One: Anne Popplewell. She is the oldest daughter of Vermeer's family, and doesn't exactly have a speaking role. Just kind of walks around a bit and helps Griet once or twice. Number Two: Cillian Murphy from Inception. I was like 'Hey, it's you!' He played Pieter, Griet's kind of lover. He was annoying much like I find his character in the book, so persistent. So yeah basically he did a good job!

I loved how the colours of the headscarf are so vivid nearer the end for the painting, they are so beautiful and contrast dramatically with Griet's normally plain life and really shows what paint can do to make it so real and life-like.
The only things that annoyed me in a bad way against the book was that they took out a lot of characters and events that were so great and important to the plot like Griet's sister dying, her seeing her brother, the awkward dinners with her family and Pieter. These things were great in the book and I can see that maybe not needed but it would have been great if it was a true good adaptation rather than a half hearted one. And Cornelia. She was way too young and pretty.
Also, a lot of the events just you know, kind of just HAPPEN, without a build up or anything which is unusual in those type of films really.

This is a great and true adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with the Pearl Earring and should have won more awards. With its star-studded cast and beautiful filming, this is really one I would watch again and recommend others to do so too.

My Review of the novel, Girl with the Pearl Earring

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