There are good things here: terrific period costumes and lighting plus strong performances from Alex Hassell and Romola Garai. The locations are not authentic Amsterdam, but the green screen work (which makes use of the canals and the Pieterskerk in Leiden) is good enough to make it appear that way. The problems are twofold: the screenplay, which compresses the plot and pushes the action along too quickly; and the rather flat central figure of Petronella Oortman, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Her transition from a clueless blonde meisje uit het platteland to a city-smart gal who accepts her husband's homosexuality and eventually takes over his business is not convincing. But the producers no doubt wanted to foreground the themes of repressed sexuality and strong woman to appeal to a contemporary audience. It's worth watching, but it could have been much better if the 'message' aspect had not been so intrusive.

CaptainHecto's rating:
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