Director: Ryan Murphy
Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard
Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem, Hadi Subiyanto,
Elena Arvigo, Christine Hakim, Ritvik Tyagi, Rushita Singh
RunTime: 2 hrs 13 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/eatpraylove/
Opening Day: 7 October 2010
Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) had everything a modern woman
is supposed to dream of having – a husband, a house,
a successful career – yet like so many others, she found
herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really
wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert
steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change
her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes
a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers
the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power
of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner
peace and balance of true love in Bali. Based upon the bestselling
memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love proves that there
really is more than one way to let yourself go and see the
It has been a while since Julia Roberts has had her name appearing on the marquee as the leading actress- save for Duplicity- which did not really do very well at the box office. Eat, Pray, Love is just the perfect vehicle for the Pretty Woman to make her storming return to the top of the box office. Afterall, this is a one-woman driven vehicle which has gained an international following thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert and her book of the same name. Though she receives top billing, there are great actors like Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, James Franco and Billy Crudup joining her on her adventures and there is further excitement considering Ryan Murphy, the creative brain behind hit show, Glee, is at the helm. Unfortunately, the movie has not been able to take the world by storm as expected.
Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman who decides to drop everything and traverse the world spending months on end in places like Italy, India and Bali to rediscover her life. All these places provide her with different and varied experiences which teach her life lessons. The title of the movie and book is attributed to these three places. She discovers the joy of friendship through food in Italy, the power of forgiveness in an ashram in India and the beauty of love in the idyllic charm of Bali. However, her character’s decision to drop everything is somewhat controversial (leaving her husband, running away and canoodling with different guys, hello?) but I will leave it at that.
While Julia Roberts is a pleasant presence on the screen, this is definitely not her best role to date. It somehow feels that the real Elizabeth Gilbert had not been truthfully depicted (she must be dynamic considering her book being a bestseller yes?). It would also be easy to compare Roberts’ role in this one to Erin Brockovich, which was played with much vivaciousness that it eventually led to her Oscar win. The rest of the cast do what they have been asked to do but they too never truly blaze the screen, which is a pity considering that an Oscar winner, a nominee and reliable actors have been thrown into the mix.
This reviewer has not read the book from which the movie is adapted from and therefore, will not be in the position to compare the movie to the book. That said, the premise of one taking time off one’s life in order to rediscover the joy of living it, is a very attractive one. However, the running time of 130 minutes means that the movie takes its time to meander from one country to another and sometimes, it feels that there is unnecessary indulgence. In fact, there simply was no reason for me to feel a connection to what was a soulless expedition.
The movie would have made an excellent travelogue what with the movie being shot in authentic locations, which gives the movie a slight plus. The people and the places are beautiful but it just ends up boring.
(Bored, *Yawn*, Sleep)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri