Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup
Director: Ryan Murphy
Roughly ten minutes into “Eat Pray Love”, the protagonist of this movie, played by Julia Roberts, announces dramatically: “I’m sick of me”. Slumped over in your seat, exhausted by the character’s constant whining, you wake up momentarily to enthusiastically agree.
Julia Roberts stars as New York writer Elizabeth Gilbert, on whose best-selling memoir this dreadfully boring film is based.
Roberts stars as New York writer Elizabeth Gilbert, on whose best-selling memoir this dreadfully boring film is based. Having broken up her marriage (to Billy Crudup), and then abandoned a relationship with a younger stage actor (played by James Franco), Liz decides to take a year off and go traveling in search of personal fulfillment.
First stop is Italy, where Liz discovers the joys of good food, and talks about empowering herself by putting on weight. She heads next to an ashram in India where she learns how to meditate, and subsequently to ‘forgive herself’ thanks to some valuable advice from a fellow pilgrim (played by Richard Jenkins).
And finally, she lands up in Bali where she finds love with a good-looking Brazilian (played by Javier Bardem), and even makes herself feel noble by doing a little charity.
Despite the captivating presence of Julia Roberts, “Eat Pray Love” doesn’t work because her character comes off as incredibly selfish, and her dilemma appears suffocatingly superficial. She’s a privileged woman, financially independent, who can afford to go off on this incredible adventure, and yet she never stops whining.
The film is gorgeously shot and has a travel-brochure feel to it, but there’s an embarrassing sense of shallowness in the protagonist’s attraction to all things exotic – food, religion and boyfriend. There is no escape from cultural stereotyping either: the streets of Rome are filled with lovers who don’t bother to get a room, and what American film set in India can be complete without a noisy marriage scene, and an encounter with an elephant?
Throughout its 2 hours and 20 minutes running time the film assaults you with all that supposedly insightful psychobabble about life and about discovering one’s true self, that’s dished out by the various characters that cross Liz’s path.
And yet in the end, the movie seems to suggest that the reward for going out and finding yourself – is just another man! I’m going with a generous two out of five for director Ryan Murphy’s “Eat Pray Love”. Keep your expectations low, and perhaps you won’t be entirely disappointed.
Rating: 2 / 5
Winner of viewers movie review
Yogesh Kumar, Hyderabad
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