Eat. Pray. Love. If only life was as simple as the movies. Julia Roberts plays Liz Gilbert, a recent divorcee who takes a year off to travel around the world to find herself. The movie is based on Liz Gilbert's best-seller, Eat Pray Love, of which Roberts herself was a fan. In fact, a blurb from Julia on the cover says, "It's what I'm giving all my girl friends". Having said that I can't imagine anyone else but Julia inhabiting this role. Who else would you want to go along with on a ride to find yourself around the world?
My only gripe with the film is that it loses Gilbert's voice from the book. Yes, there is the obligatory voice over from Roberts thinking out loud, but the reason why the book struck a chord with so many who read it was Gilbert's honesty. Her honesty in relationships, her failures and her need to better herself. And we readers stuck through that. It felt a bit flat in the movie, but yes, it looked gorgeous. Anyone would look at the film and think, God, if only I could do the same. Eat takes place in Italy where Liz goes to learn Italian and immerse herself in the foods of Italy. I love that they kept the pizza scene in. I really wanted some pizza at the end of movie, it was that convincing. Pray moved itself to spiritual India where Liz goes to stay at an ashram only to learn that the guru she wants to see, has gone to New York, her hometown. Yes, life is funny that way. Finally, Love takes place in Bali, Indonesia where she meets up with a wise old medicine man who tells her the secrets of life. This is also the act of the film where she meets a man, Felipe, who also changes the way she looks at life. Liz learns more and more about herself through the experiences she has on the trips and the people and friends she makes along the way.
If you've never read the book, you'll enjoy the movie. However, if you've read the book, you find yourself constantly comparing the two. The role of her sister and family is non-existent. Her ex-husband has a larger role in the film, she doesn't talk about him so much in the book, she is constantly wanting him to forgive her. And Felipe, played by Javier Bardem, looks to be about the same age as Liz, when in the book he is clearly much older than her. These are minor things probably necessary for the plot of the movie, it's better than to find yourself at an exotic locale and have Javier Bardem as the love interest.
My last and only gripe with the film and with Hollywood in general is this, yes, we get it, you're fascinated by India. But enough with the arranged marriages and elephants. Get rid of the cliches, I'm sick of them by now. Lastly, it's important to note that Liz's journey takes her through Italy, India and Indonesia. Countries all beginning with the letter I. Coincidence, I think not!
Directed by Ryan Murphy; Written by Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt; (based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert); Cinematography by Robert Richardson, Music by Dario Marionelli
Also in the cast: Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco