Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Girl with a Pearl Earring</strong> (2003)

(On TV, November 2016) If I was in a jocular mood, I’d probably use Girl with a Pearl Earring as an excuse for a rant on the sorry state of Hollywood creativity: Not only are they adapting novels, TV Shows, videogames, now they’re even adapting paintings, for goodness’ sake! But it’s hard to be in anything but a coma after watching the film, which delves deep into the minutia of a 17th century Dutch household as it imagines the circumstances leading to Vermeer’s eponymous painting. Scarlett Johansson stars as the eponymous girl, while Colin Firth gets a smile or two as the long-haired romantic incarnation of the painter. Much of the rest is either domestic infighting, or a half-hearted romantic triangle. There are, to be sure, a few things worth mentioning about the film: The cinematography plays with the colour scheme of the film to reflect various Vermeer paintings, and Johansson does bear a passing resemblance to the painting itself. But much of it feels dull and far too long. I suspect that part of my lack of appreciation for the film has to do with the film’s presentation: For some reason, the version I watched on TV (on a channel that usually does its best despite commercial breaks) had muddy colors, bad compression artifacts and (most unexplainably) a 4:3 aspect ratio for a film shot in 2.35:1. Still, no amount of presentation will fix the interminable pacing of the story, so I don’t expect to revisit Girl with a Pearl Earring anytime soon.

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