This film can seem a bit dull at times, but when Scarlett Johansson puts on that earring and becomes the subject for the famous painting by Vermeer, it’s a breathtaking moment. Based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier, it tells a fictional account of the circumstances that surrounded the creation of the famous painting. Johansson plays Griet, one of Vermeer’s maids who catches his eye and becomes his model. The background story involving Vermeer’s jealous wife and nasty mother-in-law isn’t all that intriguing, but Johansson and Firth keep their part of the story breathing. Tom Wilkinson is decidedly sleazy as the man who commissions Vermeer to paint a portrait of Griet for lascivious purposes, and Cillian Murphy of 28 Days Later
is good as Griet’s love interest. Film doesn’t always work, but when it does it mesmerizes.