Eat Pray Love: A Movie That Will Inspire You To Do All Of The Above

12 08 2010

Based on the best-selling novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love stars Julia Roberts in a Ryan Murphy directed picture. The film is sure to win over the female crowd – and just maybe, everyone else. Here’s the breakdown:

Liz is stuck in a rut; several in fact. She bases her existence around the men in her life, losing herself in her romantic relationships. Finally, one day, she has enough. Liz decides to take a year long trip, traveling first to Italy, then to India, and ending the year in Bali, all in a quest to reconnect with herself. It is at these three transformative destinations that Liz leans to Eat, Pray and Love.

The Monkey: Julia Roberts is one of the most beloved, critically acclaimed and well paid actresses for a reason. She knows how to deliver a completely believable performance, and her role as Liz Gilbert is no different. I constantly lament the lack of character arc in recent films, but Roberts is able to show the audience a genuine transition. This kind of story, this kind of acting and this kind of character development is refreshing.

While Roberts is the leading lady, her supporting cast is equally impressive. From a heart-wrenching performance by Richard Jenkins as a fellow ashram attendee to Javier Bardem’s “tall dark and handsome” Felipe, Eat Pray Love didn’t skimp on the talent, and the emotional evocation proves it.

Some of the most striking elements of Eat Pray Love are the settings. Director Ryan Murphy deftly transports the audience to three distinct locales, with three distinct emotional and tonal characteristics. The use of camera angles, cinematography, music, lighting, sound, costumes – Murphy uses it all expertly to establish the emotional core of the film’s three levels. His extensive TV work (Nip/Tuck, Glee) seems to have prepared him well for feature length films, and after seeing Eat Pray Love, I look forward to his future film projects.

The Weasel: While Murphy’s choice of music was spot on, the repetition was less so. He uses the same song several times throughout the film, as if he’s trying to remind the audience they are still in the same location. Not only is this unnecessary, it’s actually – did he only get the rights to a handful of songs? It seems that way.

Early in the film, Liz’s life revolves around her romantic relationships, and the dissolution of these relationships are especially devastating for her. Unfortunately, the movie is unable to give sufficient time to each of these relationships for the audience to truly feel the depth of her struggle. In fact, due to the lack of emotional build-up, it’s a testament to Robert’s acting ability that the audience feels anything at all.

Lastly, the ending was cliché; perhaps necessary, and certainly “feel good,” but cliché all the same.

Eat Pray Love is sure to be a hit with women, but I think the movie has something to offer for everyone. The message of “find yourself” may seem cheesy, but the film is able to couch it in such a way as to make it seem fresh, adventuresome – and just because it’s cheesy, doesn’t mean it’s not a positive message.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Did Eat Pray Love inspire you? How does the movie compare to the book? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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