Food and scenery can’t save facile script. 

film2.jpg

While the film has its moments of charm and genuine emotion, for the most part Eat Pray Love is a dull foray into one woman's quest for self-discovery. And along the way, she manages to play into every cultural cliché, hunker down into her self-centered universe, and submit to the Westernized fantasy of an exotic pilgrimage to enlightenment.

We begin with Liz (Julia Roberts) cutting ties to an unsatisfying marriage, taking up with a younger man (James Franco), and eventually leaving him when things start to fall apart. This isn't really a problem. A woman making choices based on her own desires and not those of her significant other? Sounds good to me. But then the rest of Eat Pray Love happens.

Liz goes to Italy, where we spend a good half-hour watching food porn: pasta, prosciutto, cheeses, figs, more pasta. Turns out, Italians love pasta. They also love sex and talking with their hands. So begins Liz's immersion in the most clichéd aspects of a foreign city. She and her group of insta-friends also decide that every city can be summed up in a word — a too-perfect reminder of this oversimplified plot — and determine that Liz is "a woman in search of her word." In the process, Liz bravely tackles gender schema and decides, in a particularly radical move, to release herself from body-image shackles. "I'm through with the guilt," says an ever-svelte Roberts.

Liz then follows this whirlwind of discovery to India, where she seeks the wisdom and guidance of a guru. She meets Richard (Richard Jenkins), who is only one of many characters poised to offer her life lessons and dedicate themselves to her quest. With Richard's help, Liz spends time forgiving herself (for what, I'm not sure) and learning to clear her mind, which is apparently, like, really hard.

In the final segment of this saga, Liz travels to Bali, which is so beautiful that it (coupled with Javier Bardem) almost redeems the previous hour and a half of the movie. But Liz both fetishizes and makes the experience ordinary. She visits a wizened medicine man, Ketut, and, in one particularly irksome move, takes a stack of centuries-old spells to be photocopied and bound, although Ketut asked her to copy them by hand. So much for patience and dedication.

The love story between Liz and Felipe (Bardem) is sweet, but it develops quickly and seems a bit shallow. Even when Liz realizes she's losing the "self" she's worked so hard for, Ketut teaches her that sometimes you have to lose balance in love to live a balanced life. A most convenient loophole.

Julia Roberts is winning as always and is supported by a quality cast. Bali is stunning to look at. The shots of olive oil drizzled on fresh asparagus and fresh, hot pizza made me ravenous. In fact, Eat Pray Love as a whole is exquisitely filmed. It is just a shame that a script about facing personal challenges turns out to be so facile.

Now playing

Multiple locations

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite
Eat Pray Love
Rated PG-13 · 133 min. · 2010
Official Site: www.sonypictures.com/movies/eatpraylove
Director: Ryan Murphy
Writer: Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt and Elizabeth Gilbert
Producer: Dede Gardner
Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem, Tuva Novotny, Ali Khan, Lidia Biondi and Arlene Tur

Trailer


Now Playing

Eat Pray Love is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Barbecue Fest 2018

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Milos Forman's Debut Loves of a Blonde Screens Tonight

News Blog

Tennessee Wants More Hemp Farmers

News Blog

Airbnb Marks Its Biggest Memphis Weekend

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Lisa Mac

From My Seat

NBA Draft Doldrums

Hungry Memphis

Pete & Sam's returns!

We Saw You

When it rains, keep pouring the BBQ sauce

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Hannah Sayle

  • Recipe for Success

    Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman on their new cookbook, Collards & Carbonara.
    • Aug 29, 2013
  • Midtown Magnetism

    Babalu fills in another Overton Square spot; Muddy’s to open on Cooper.
    • Aug 22, 2013
  • Open House

    The historic Magevney House will soon reopen to the public.
    • Aug 22, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Death Grip

    Memphis filmmaker Sam Bahre talks about his 11-year struggle to create I Filmed Your Death.
    • Apr 19, 2018
  • Inferno

    Tom Hanks, Your Country Needs You
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • I Am Not Your Negro

    Raoul Peck’s documentary brings James Baldwin’s words to an America that needs to listen.
    • Feb 24, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation