Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Movie Review -- The Girl with the Pearl Earring

   The Girl with the Pearl Earring with Scarlett Johannson (2003) is a fictionalized history of the Johannes Vermeer painting of the same name.  The novel was written by Tracy Chevalier and told what "might have happened" considering the times and lifestyle of Dutch citizens in the 1660's.  It gives insights into family life and especially the techniques that painters used.

   An artist did not get on the internet and order his paints from Michael's Art Supply and specify Cambrian Red or Vermillion or whatever.  He had to use chemicals and oil and mix them.  It makes you wonder how on earth they created such wonderful masterpieces.

   Chevalier weaves history and imagination and romance into fascinating adventure.  And, to understand the film, you pretty much have to have read the novel.  The film sticks to the mood and drama of the book, but without knowing the story, you could easily get lost in the film narrative.

   The most remarkable thing is how closely Scarlett Johannson resembles the girl in the Vermeer painting. The likeness is uncanny, and contributes to the charm of the filmed story. Scarlett was nineteen when the film was made and she makes the role of Griet wonderfully believeable.


bamawmn46 said...

It's amazing how any art really came into being, isn't it?  I am always amazed at the lengths people went to in order to express themselves.  I'll have to check out the movie.....  Thanks, Chuck!

mtrib2 said...

Trying to understand how people lived and worked in centuries past is fascinating.   It has been theorized that Vermeer used camera obscura which was a non film containing lens that captured an image and perspective on glass.   It could then be used to "map" an image.   The artist could make precise life scenes on a two dimensional drawing.   Norman Rockwell was so great at his study of the image that he could do photografically appearing painting by studying from life and drawing.   It was also theorized that Vermeer kept secret his use of the camera obscura in an attempt to surpass other artists' abilitys.   I would like to rent the DVD of "The girl with the pearl earring" now that you have made clear that the book would help to understand the movie.     mark