By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
This is one of the greatest and most famous paintings in art history. It also formed the basis of a celebrated historical fiction novel by Tracy Chevalier, which was adapted for the big screen in 2003. That film and painting is none other than Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is arguably one of the greatest artistic creations ever made. Chevalier was bold enough to imagine what the story was behind this enigmatic “girl,” and that story came vividly to life for the silver screen when Peter Webber directed this modern classic about a classic work of art.
Even with a few minor differences between this film adaptation and the original novel, the actual film is incredibly beautiful. Since this film is about art and creativity, the film is obviously visually stunning. In fact, this film earned three Academy Award nominations for its production design, cinematography, and costume design even though The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had a “clean sweep” that same year in 2003. Nevertheless, the story about the titular “girl with a pearl earring” vividly comes to life as the film explores the complicated love affair between the artist named Vermeer as he falls deeply in love with Griet, a young peasant girl who inspired him to paint his masterpiece. Just like the painting itself, this film is a sight to behold!
Art and film are very similar because they both involve probing deep into the minds, hearts, and souls of creative individuals to create masterpieces that would hopefully stand the test of time. Nicole Kidman also said during her Oscar acceptance speech when she won for her leading role in The Hours (2002) that, “Art is important,” and in many ways, she is right! Film lovers enjoy cinema for its ability to entertain while also encouraging audiences to appreciate the amount of time and meticulous craftsmanship required to create a work of art. Cheers to the artists of the past who will hopefully inspire the artists of the present and the future!
Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Vermeer paints
Take a Drink: for every (physical) painting
Drink a Shot: for every passionate, romantic, and seductive moment
Enjoy Your Favorite Drink: while listening to Alexandre Desplat’s sumptuous musical score
And Cheers: for an artistic film filled with artistic merit!