Girl with a Pearl Earring [2003]

You wouldn't think a movie could look like a Vermeer painting, but Girl with a Pearl Earring is filmed with an amazing range of luminous glows that evoke the Dutch artist's masterworks. Of course, it helps that much of the movie centers on Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Ghost World), whose creamy skin and full lips have a luminosity of their own. Johansson plays Griet, a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth, Bridget Jones' Diary, Fever Pitch), who finds herself in a web of jealousy, artistic inspiration, and social machinations. Though the pace is slow, Girl with a Pearl Earring genuinely conveys some sense of an artist's process, as well as offering many chaste yet sensual moments between Firth and Johansson. Also featuring Essie Davis as Vermeer's bitter wife and Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) as a wealthy patron with eyes for Griet. --Bret Fetzer

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