Director: Ryan Murphy
Starring: Julia Roberts
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been in love with Julia Roberts ever since Shelby first drank her juice. So I will try and be as impartial as I can with this review. Eat Pray Love is based on the best-selling memoir of the same name. Julia stars as Liz Gilbert, a woman who has become totally dissatisfied with the direction of her life. She divorces her husband and leaves her home in New York to embark on a one year journey of self discovery. Italy for the eating, India for the praying, and Bali for the loving, to be exact.
The director, Ryan Murphy, is sizzling hot in Hollywood. The creator of Nip/Tuck rocketed to new heights last year with the mega hit Glee. With Eat Pray Love, Murphy had the challenge of compressing a one year journey in to a two hour movie. The story moves slowly at times but each sequence in the film does feel essential to completing Liz Gilbert’s story.
Julia Roberts as usual is a powerhouse on screen. In the last decade, Roberts has stayed away from headlining roles in films and chosen mostly ensemble pieces. Recently she passed on The Proposal and The Blind Side, much to Sandra Bullock's delight. The last time Julia had this much screen time was way back in 2000 with her Oscar winning performance in Erin Brockovich. She is literally in every scene of the film. We are able to see a full range of emotion in her performance: the despair of realizing the life you have is not the life you want, the pain of knowing you have broken someone elses heart, and celebrating “the art of doing nothing.”
The touchstones for Robert’s character are the men who cross her path. Bill Crudup plays the ex husband who can not understand why his marriage is over. James Franco is the rebound. A 28 year old artist with an easy going approach to life. Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins plays a father like figure to Roberts and has the most emotional scene in the film. Academy Award winner Javier Bardem plays the final man in the film to cross Robert's path and brings the love to Eat Pray Love.
Who has not wanted to leave everything behind and disappear into the world at some point? On this level, the film hits a chord. The one major flaw is that it never addresses the practical difficulties of just picking up and leaving your life for a year. Wanting to leave is easy but putting your affairs in order is entirely different. Liz Gilbert is a writer and has the flexibility of work and apparently a large supply of cash.
I know that when I left the theatre I wanted to eat, pray, and love a little more. I am just aware that my employer and mortgage company would not appreciate it.
*fashionadofilm score 7 out of 10
fashionadofilm with Jamie Clemons