EAT PRAY LOVE
Director: Ryan Murphy
Screenwriters: Ryan Murphy and Jennifer Salt - based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoirs
Runtime: 140 mins.
Australian release date:7 October 2010
Eat Pray Love goes on a rambling self-indulgent path that seems interminable for the 140 minutes it takes to purge itself of any sense of purpose. Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is a self-absorbed young woman living in New York. While on assignment in Bali, she meets a soothsayer who happens to tell her that changes are on the way. She decides to chuck it all in and go on a journey of self-discovery, leaving behind a broken marriage to Stephen (Billy Crudup), a heart-broken boyfriend, David (James Franco) and her gal-pal, Delia (Viola Davis).
First stop, the Eternal City, where she meets another self-absorbed traveller, Sofi (Tuva Novotny) and they proceed to practise their language skills with the worse accents and while eating their way through the Italian cuisine. Before she can no longer fit on her bicycle seat, Liz takes off to India. The only positive fact from this awful episode is that India is portrayed in such a negative light, that mass tourism from Americans will not happen. Here Liz befriends another disillusioned American ex-pat, Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins), who we discover has fled from his hometown because he was, well, an alcoholic. He is still freaking out from the knowledge that he almost ran over his son. And, where does a recovering alcoholic go if not into rehab? You guessed it - an ashram…
Next stop Bali, where Liz meets another bunch of ex-pats made up of various nationalities who are all there for what? You guessed it - rehab! Yes, the world is an ugly place if you are going on a journey of self-discovery. Liz is spared a life of loneliness when she meets Felipe (Javier Bardem) who is recovering, from what? By that stage I didn’t give a damn. And, you guessed it, they go off into the sunset together
This is a film that already has a guaranteed audience. The book, based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoirs was a best seller. It is a chic flick and will resonate with its audience. Julia Roberts is, as always, very watchable, if a little curious looking. I took great delight in gasping at her travel wardrobe which veered between Miss Marple length frocks, to cheap local clobber, depending on which country Liz was in.
Eat Pray Love is fun to watch for the locations and in some ways a cheap ticket to view parts of the world that are thoroughly photogenic and beautifully captured by cinematographer Robert Richardson. Unfortunately, it is such an abysmal yarn and simply does not live up to the saying adopted by Liz on her quest to discover - dolce fa niente. You will need to part with the price of a ticket to discover what that means.