Film Review: EAT PRAY LOVE (2010)
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"Eat Pray Love" Movie Review. 4/10.
By Todd Murphy. ALL ABOUT MOVIES.NET.
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Starring Julia Roberts
Claiming to be a film about spiritual enlightenment, “Eat Pray Love” is anything but; despite some gorgeous scenery and images, the film is flat, boring, and long as we follow a self-indulgent woman around the world so she can find her inner peace.
Based on the novel by the same name, the film starts off in a good place by in essence starting with the idea of how to deal with finding one’s self in today’s world, particularly as a woman. Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who seemingly has it all, but she has no happiness or inner peace. After initiating a divorce from her husband, she dives in to a rebound relationship with a younger man, then goes on a trip to Italy, India and Bali for a year to re-discover herself and her senses. As a result of this voyage, numerous locales within the three countries she visits are shown off to great effect, and we get an insight in to the idea of a “fish out of water” who finds her footing in each destination, and as such, begins to feel alive and in touch with the world again.
The experience of watching this film is the polar opposite of what Elizabeth Gilbert is experiencing. The film is flat, long, uninspiring and at times self-indulgent. Gilbert’s tale is about re-discovering life and experiencing moments of joy and happiness, none of which are present in this film. For a film that should have been uplifting, as an audience member you walk away feeling nothing except for the exercise you felt after shifting in your seat through the two plus hours that this film extorts from you. This is demonstrated clearly in the scene where Richard Jenkins’ character off loads his sad story to Gilbert; the scene is so poorly executed that you do not feel anything for this character who made a terrible mistake and is trying to make amends. Instead, you find yourself cringing at the performances, particularly Roberts who has nothing to do but look pathetically sad and react to Jenkins. This can be extended to Gilbert’s treatment of James Franco’s character, whom she leaves the minute she is not ‘experiencing’ anything from him anymore. What we are left with is a focus on watching a middle-age woman indulging in her own selfish pursuits, which is not the core point of this story about self-discovery. If the direction and performance we had been given in this film had been better handled, this core point would have come across and Gilbert’s exploits would have been understandable and very watchable instead of the crud this film delivers.
Click here for the full review at All About Movies.net.
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Todd Murphy is a film analyst and staff writer/reviewer for the film and DVD review web site, ALL ABOUT MOVIES.NET.