Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Which is Better? Girl with a Pearl Earring

Like the book, the beginning of the movie is cumbersome. At first I was really excited. The first scene shows Griet cutting vegetables and I thought they were going to shoot the firs scene right out of the beginning of the book. But then, she stops cutting vegetables, goes to her Dad, takes a tile that he made and then packs to leave her home. Her mother mentions something about staying away from the dirty Catholics, and then she's off to work as a maid for a richer family.

There is no explanation to why she had to go work for them unless you knew Dutch family structure and culture of the 1600s. The dad's blind, so there was no money coming in. Mom has to take care of Dad, so it's up to Griet to provide for her family.

You see Griet trying to get used to her new life but the viewer is waiting for the other foot to drop. The appearance of the master, Mr. Vermeer. ScarJo plays Griet as if she is already lusting after Vermeer, but they had not met yet. However, Colin Firth... did not disappoint.

And so... like the book, I didn't care about the characters until I actually did. It sort of snuck up me, how I suddenly was invested in the characters, waiting for the moment when Griet is actually painted.

The movie does a great job of building the tension between everyone in the household, not just between the master and Griet. I also loved how they showed the power deferential between Griet and Vermeer, and also between the wife and Vermeer.

I also loved how they showed Griet torn between the butcher's son and her love for the master as well. I also loved the different spin ScarJo put on Griet's situation. As if she knows that the Butcher's son is her only viable option, but she wants to fly close to the sun.

A noticeable difference between the book and the movie is the omission of characters. I felt like the other family members added to her backstory, and her drive to become a maid and work for her family. It also adds an element to why she begins a courtship with the butcher's son. He'll provide for her family, much more so than her wages as a maid.

I also thought it was very funny that the meeting with Griet and Vermeer didn't occur until 20 minutes into the movie. I felt like it didn't really have a beginning until they meet, and it should have been done immediately. It was the same deal with Cordelia, the devil daughter of Vermeer. However, they used her in the background in an interesting way for the rest of the movie. I thought that illustrated just how devious she was.

At first, I wasn't into the casting of the wife but she leaned into her role halfway through the movie and conveyed the petty but pretty wife written in the book. I wish they had done more with Tanneke and their complicated relationship. How they went from friends, to enemies, to acquaintances again.

The ending was off, with the giving of the pearl earrings. She is supposed to be several years older and she goes back to the master's house. The mistress gives her the pearls and Griet sells them but does nothing with the money. One of the points of the book that is drove home is her class and status, which is missed by the brief ending.

I think the movie, overall, is a great adaptation. Scarjo and Colin Firth are phenomenal as the main characters, and the other actors contribute a lot to the movie. I do feel like movies are limited on character development, and Pearl Earring definitely falls victim to that. Nevertheless, the movie is shot well and the sets were properly made, instead of CGI.

Which is Better? I feel like it's a draw. The book and the movie are great for different reasons. Read the book and watch the movie!

Do you have a different opinion? Respond below!

No comments:

Post a Comment