Girl With A Pearl Earring

Synopsis: This film, adapted from a work of fiction by author Tracy Chevalier, tells a story about the events surrounding the creation of the painting "Girl With a Pearl Earring" by 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Little is known about the girl in the painting, it is speculated that she was a maid who lived in the house of the painter along with his family and other servants, though there is no historical evidence. This masterful film attempts to recreate the mysterious girl's life. Griet, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a maid in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer, played by British actor Colin Firth. Vermeer's wealthy patron and sole means of support, Van Ruijven, commissions him to paint Griet with the intent that he will have her for himself before it is finished. She must somehow secretly pose for the crucial painting without the knowledge of Vermeer's wife, avoid Van Ruijven's grasp, and protect herself from the cruel gossip of the world of a 17th century servant.
Director(s): Peter Webber
Production: Exhibition On Screen
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 41 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min


Leave that.

- Griet?

- Father.

Do you remember?

You watched me paint it.

I never thought our family

would come to this.

Food may be strange

to your stomach.

Keep clear of their Catholic prayers.

Or if you must be with them

when they pray...

stop your ears.

- Girl #1:
Give it.

- Girl #2:
I got Cornelia's too.

- Give it back.

- Stop it!

Girl #1:
You did not get it.

I did.

Do you know the house

of Master Vermeer?

Tell Tanneke

the new maid is here.

You took your time.

Lose your way, did you?

Young mistress is out

this morning.

I'm to show you round.

Water for the table.

Take water from the canal

for laundry.

It's clean enough

this side of town.


coppers, boiler...

sand and soap.

In cooking kitchen you're to help

serve and clear,

buy fish and meat...

when young mistress

don't want to.

You'll take your meals

with me and the children.

That's your sleeping place.

Scour the pots and pans.

Young mistress and master sleep

and have company here.

You'll get used to it.

You're to clean in there.

Not now!

He's painting.

(mice squeaking)

(light tapping)

(water boiling)


Good morning, madam.

Don't speak till

you're spoken to.

Tanneke showed you what needs

to be done? The laundry and so on?

Yes, madam.

This is only a trial.

Nothing is settled yet.


my husband does...

Go in.

Go in.

Disturb nothing.

Leave all just as it is.

Open the shutters,

you can't work in the dark.

You're not the first to forget

your manners in front of his paintings.

Tell me, girl...

do you think it finished?

Three months.

Another three before he's satisfied,

no doubt.

Well get along, girl.

You're not paid

to stand gawping all day.

Good to see you.

- Tanneke:
Are you well?

- Man:

- Can we go?

- Here's my man.


This is Griet,

the new maid.

She'll fetch the meat now.

So, Griet...

what takes your fancy?

Nothing is too good

for this family?

An ox tongue

and a dozen chops.



In the book again?

There you are.

This meat's not fresh.

The mistress won't like it.


Get the parcel

on the cart.

That's better.

We'll see you again, Griet.



I'll take that.

Make way now.

- What is it?

- Bankrupt.

They've lived next door

for as long as I can remember.

The shame.

Lost everything.

Watch out for young mistress.

She hates money troubles.

She'll turn spiteful at this,

you mark my words.

The last time you said it was

done you kept it another six months!

It will be done soon.

Oh yes, soon.

But when is soon?

Next month, next year?

It's all the same to you,

if your children starve

and your wife is dressed in rags.

When you sit up there

and suck at your paintbrush...

You're being ridiculous.

I'm going out.

No, Jan,

don't you dare leave.

(steps, slamming door)

One year it got so bad,

they had to sell some of their jewels.

You could imagine

how that pleased her.

She smashed half the china...

went to spoil

one of his precious paintings.

Well, he's a temper on him too

for all he's so quiet.

She's not set so much as a foot

in his studio from that day to this.

(door opens, steps)

(woman screaming in pain)


There you are.

Fetch some water.

Hail Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now

and at the hour of our death.

Six babies. Why does

she have to make such a racket?

Just get on with the work.

- Push!

- (screaming)

I need more rags, girl.

More rags.



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Olivia Hetreed

Olivia Hetreed is a British screenwriter and editor, and the current president of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. In 2003, she received a BAFTA nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting Tracy Chevalier's best-selling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring into the film of the same name. Hetreed has also been credited as the screenwriter for productions based on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Brontë, and Caroline Lawrence. As a result, she has been called an "expert in literary adaptations." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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