Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
Beautifully lit, designed and photographed, it is, like much of the Dutch master's work, more to be admired than emotionally embraced.
Lavish attention to historical detail, the thorough immersion in this unusual world and Johansson's impressive performance make Girl With a Pearl Earring memorable but not a masterpiece.
Ebert & Roeper:
For the first time in her brilliant young career, Scarlett Johansson is the centerpiece of a film -- and she carries it mostly through her wonderfully expressive face.
Dancing on the edge of dullness, Girl is continually saved by the look of things.
Los Angeles Times:
Even if Girl With a Pearl Earring is not nearly as remarkable dramatically as it is visually, it is, finally, a film of great beauty, and that is something worth appreciating.
To earn its props, a period film must resonate in our time. A movie about art doubles that demand. Webber has delivered the goods and then some.
[Johansson] gives a nearly silent performance, yet the interplay on her face of fear, ignorance, curiosity, and sex is intensely dramatic.
Globe and Mail:
An extraordinary embodiment of the period, [Johansson] looks to have stepped right into a Vermeer frame.
Dallas Morning News:
Like the painting itself and the young woman who inspired it, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a quiet jewel.
A slight but considerably enchanting tale of impossible romance and artistic discovery.
Visually, the film is breathtaking. And Johansson, while not looking much like the Girl with the Pearl, does achieve a Vermeer- like sublimity, against which the ill winds of 1600s Holland blow.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
Pretty much the whole movie is a series of poses, static and uninvolving, except for cinematographer Eduardo Serra's lighting, which makes everything look convincingly Vermeer-ish
It's meant to deliver conflict and characters, motivation and crisis. Instead it delivers period details, pretty scenery, interesting landscapes and elegant still lifes.
New York Observer:
Seems to have been made to appeal to viewers who believe that a prestigious painting is infinitely more important than a mere movie that celebrates the exalted existence of this painting.
New York Observer:
A rare and elegant film bathed in the kind of soft, delicate light that can build unexpectedly to feelings of both anxiety and bliss.
New York Times:
An earnest, obvious melodrama with no soul, filled with the longing silences that come after a sigh.
Working from an intelligent, understated screenplay by Olivia Hetreed, director Peter Webber (an acclaimed documentarian) proceeds with a stunning assurance.
Offers sumptuous visuals and compelling drama effectively intermingled in a pleasing, satisfying production.
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.
Vermeer's famous painting comes semi-alive in this stultifyingly tasteful adaptation of a ludicrous book. Go to the museum instead.
San Francisco Chronicle:
The movie offers tantalizing glimpses of the leaded glass windows, rich mosaic fabrics and cobbled streets immortalized in his work.
The picture is simply ravishing, but at times it falls prey to its own contemplations.
You've never seen so many people talking and walking so slowly or registering their emotions so unblinkingly.
A rich gem expertly told in a surprisingly scant 95 minutes.
With concision and well-chosen detail, Peter Webber's exceedingly accomplished first feature beautifully evokes the world the artist inhabited 340 years ago while deftly and discreetly delineating the personal intrigue within his teeming household.
As the imaginary historical subject, Johansson holds her frequent close-ups with considerable authority.