Friday, September 24, 2004

Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

This movie evokes the same experience as viewing a painting in a museum. It is quiet and unencumbered with distraction. It provokes contemplation and reflection. But most of all it is compelling to the eye. Almost every scene of this film is crafted with the color, proportion and detail of a fine painting. It is marvelous to look at, but as one would look at a sunset or glassy sea.

Roger Ebert says it well:
"Tracy Chevalier's novel speculating about the painting has now been filmed by Peter Webber, who casts Scarlett Johansson as the girl and Colin Firth as Vermeer. I can think of many ways the film could have gone wrong, but it goes right, because it doesn't cook up melodrama and romantic intrigue but tells a
story that's content with its simplicity. The painting is contemplative, reflective, subdued, and the film must be, too: We don't want lurid revelations breaking into its mood."

The depth of this movie is primarily visual. And for that it is worth the time and effort to penetrate it's slow pace. But it's characters have the subtle familiarity of real people. So while the movie is pure fiction, it is compelling fiction, though very small in it's dramatic arc.

My Rating: Big Screen

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