Friday, August 13, 2010

Take Your Time with Eating, Praying and Loving

The Verdict: 

In Eat Pray Love, the second unofficial "girl movie" of the year (Sex and the City 2 is the predecessor) America's Sweetheart aka Julia Roberts as always, is a delight to watch. Eat Love Pray seems to be her big comeback film, since her latest films (Valentine's Day, Duplicity) haven't been up to par with her earlier, well-known movies (Pretty Woman (1990), Erin Brockovitch (2000) ).
Roberts is perfectly cast as Liz Gilbert, an all American woman who seems to have the perfect life but suddenly one day, she wants to divorce her husband Steven (a silly and sad Billy Crudup, Watchmen, Public Enemies).
Eat Pray Love is based upon the 2006 New York Times bestseller memoir, Eat, Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Eat Pray Love (the film) had the potential to be a really inspiring film but despite having the great Roberts as the star, it falls short.
It actually reminds me of the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun (which I highly enjoyed), in which a newly divorced woman starts her life over in Tuscany, Italy. Coincidentally, that film is also based on a memoir.
However, because of the idea of the search for self for Liz (the main character in Under the Tuscan Sun goes to Italy at first as a vacation to escape her problems, but then falls in love with it so much she buys a villa and decides to call Italy her new home), I dub Eat Pray Love, women's Into the Wild (the beautiful 2007 Sean Penn directed film based on the non-fiction book of the same time, of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, a young man who abandons the life he knows, to travel to Alaska to find himself).
But unlike the tragic Into the Wild, Eat Pray Love is more about the celebration of life.
Admist Liz's divorce she decides to go away for a year--- first to Italy, then to India and lastly Indonesia--- in hopes of finding herself.
Liz eats until her heart is content in Italy, goes on a spritual quest in India and finds peace and love (with Felipe, played charmingly by Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men, Vicky Cristina Barcelona)again in Bali.
I like that she narrates the film at certain points, which is very effective, giving the audience access to some her thoughts and the feeling that she is actually telling her story to us.
The best scenes of the film are in Italy where food as pleasure, is her new way of life. The most scrumptious Italian foods from pasta to pizza are given close up shots so close, you can almost smell the aroma floating off the screen.
As Liz travels to India and Indonesia, India is lively and Indonesia is calm.
But it was disappointing not to see really any beautiful scenic shots.
In a film about traveling to different countries, you'd especially expect gorgeous shots everywhere but there isn't any.
There are some sweet and tender moments where you may find yourself about to spill tears, but they don't run rampant (the scenes don't and your tears won't).
The most poignant, powerful scene is when Liz spontaneously gets on her knees to pray to God asking Him while crying, what should she do. Should she divorce her husband or not?
Roberts is at her best in that moment.
How inspiring is Eat Pray Love as a whole?
Well the the most inspiring thing about Eat Pray Love the film for me is Liz's trip to Italy.
It inspired me in what to eat for dinner.
I really couldn't get the delicious looking Italian food out of my mind from Roberts' falling in love with food period.
I got pizza.
I never got around to finishing reading the novel Eat, Pray, Love.
That should have been the red flag for me to skip the movie.
Fans of the book should love the film version however.
All others, unless you're a die hard Julia Roberts fan, take your time with seeing Eat Pray Love.


*The Stars:
Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins

Ryan Murphy

Dario Marianelli


~How Long:
2 hrs. & 13 mins.


~Julia Roberts gained 10 pounds from her role of Liz Gilbert, from all her eating scenes while in Italy.
~Brad Pitt is one of the producers of the film.

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