Girl With a Pearl Earring

Bomb Rating: 

How frickin' hard up for subject matter do you have to be to make a movie about painter Johannes Vermeer? Anyone associated with this movie ever hear of Rembrandt? Michelangelo? Picasso? For Christ's sake, Vermeer isn't even on the list of "Top 100 Painters I'd Watch a Movie About." Frankly, I think he's probably a couple of notches down from Bob Ross.

Sadly, Tracy Chevalier has tried to imagine the situation that led to the painting of "Girl with a Pearl Earring" with her book of the same name. So now we're forced to sit through a couple of hours of Vermeer's life when we could have been learning about a more important painter. Obviously, if you learn something juicy about Rembrandt, you can mention that and people will respect you. Bringing up little factoids about Rembrandt might even get you laid. But if you bring up Vermeer in casual conversation, even humanities majors are likely to drop their white-whine spritzers and give you a good ass-kicking.

The filmmakers focus on the idea of inspiration since they seem to think this particular painting is interesting. Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a lowly peasant girl who becomes the subject of the painting. She goes to work for Vermeer (Colin Firth), and they grow increasingly close as he shows her decency and sees something in her.

The bottom line is that Griet eventually sits down, puts a pearl earring in her ear, and Vermeer paints her as she sits. I cannot think of a less exciting subject for a film.

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