Charlie’s on vacation this week, so I’m back with another edition of Adam’s Film Friday. I decided to review a film about exploring where life takes you and getting to know yourself. Eat, Pray, Love is based on the memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert, (Kim’s book review is here) who after a particularly rough year decides to go on a year-long sabbatical to three different countries. Her first stop was Italy, where she ate her way through the sites and learned the importance of food and not worrying about calories. In India, she learned the importance of prayer and meditation, and in Bali she learned to love again. This film will make you think about your own life, the choices we make, and how we get to certain places in our lives.
The film begins with Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) in Bali. She is writing an article about an old medicine man named Ketut. Ketut tells her she is going to be involved in a marriage that ends in divorce. When she comes back to New York, she realizes that this prophecy may come true as she finds herself drifting apart from her husband Steven (Billy Crudup). After divorcing Steven and unsuccessfully rebounding with a young actor named David (James Franco), Gilbert realizes she needs to get away from everything and go on a trip. She has lost all passion for life and realizes she’s in a serious rut. She decides to go on a year long vacation, spending four months in Italy, four months in India, and finishing the year with four months in Bali. While in these places she discovers new things about her personality and allows herself a new perspective on life. For example, while in Italy she learns about food and friendship and in India she learns to take time to relax and meditate. Each step of the way Gilbert faces struggles and takes time to adapt, but in the end she discovers new insight into her own life with every place she visits.
I’ll admit, I was extremely hesitant to watch this film. It looked to me like the ultimate “poor girl has a rough break up, goes to find herself in a far off land, and comes out stronger and happier” type of film. However, once I began watching it I realized that the film had so much truth and heart to it. We all get lost in life; we get so set in our routines and our jobs that we sometime forget what living really is. The heart of this film comes from seeing this woman’s journey, which was directed beautifully by Ryan Murphy. Every scene in these exotic locales was so beautiful and really showcased the scenery that this woman saw. You could see why she fell in love with these places. In the Italy scenes I found my mouth watering from the heaping pasta dishes, in India I felt a weird sense of calm, and in Bali I fell in love with the serene environment. Every part of the journey built upon the previous lessons learned and the made the viewer able to understand the lessons of the whole journey.
Murphy also makes you feel like you are going on the journey with Ms. Gilbert as well. We see her struggles, but we’re also treated to her “a-ha” moment in every place. I think the filmmakers did a great job bringing both of these things to life. Additionally, although Julia Roberts did a fine job in the role, I think if you had taken any A-list celebrity actress she would have been able to play the character. Gilmore is a great character, but didn’t seem like much of a stretch to play.
Throughout this whole review the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes to the forefront of my mind. I based what I thought the film would be like on a 2 and half-minute trailer with funky chick flick music in the background. The one line in the trailer that especially bothered me was the,“this is my no carb left behind” experiment. However, when the line was said in the film it made perfect sense. Truth be told, I really did enjoy this film. I ended up liking the funky chick flick soundtrack, and really enjoyed viewing this woman’s story. Like always, I will leave you with a question: what would be your 3 places to visit, and what would you do in these 3 places? Leave them in the comments below and I will tell you my choices!
4 out of 5 stars
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
PG-13, 133 Minutes