Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Quickie: Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love

Release: 08.13.10
Rated PG-13
2 hours, 13 minutes

Second-Run Seats

Successful writer Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts, Erin Brokovich) is told by a shaman in Bali that she will have two marriages, one short, one long; she will travel the world, and she will lose all her money only to have it come back to her. After this bit of inception for the soul, Liz finds herself in the wake of a terrible divorce and in dire emotional crisis. She embarks on a journey that takes her to Italy, India, and back to Bali in the hopes it will cure what ails her.

I hadn't expected to be amazed by this movie, but I am shocked at how underwhelming and unsatisfying it is. Writer-director Ryan Murphy, who did an excellent job at mining a wealth of emotion from the cast of Glee, finds that this goldmine of inspiration never pans out. As to be expected, Roberts' performance is great; she fights back tears, appears introspective, and opens herself to fun and frivolity. Despite her warmth and openness, the subject material never lets audiences in.

Eat Pray Love is supposed to relate the physical, emotional, and spiritual journey of a woman lost in her life. The experiences, people, and places she encounters should inspire audiences as much as they did Liz. The experiences were underplayed. The people should have provided the main vehicle to display her evolution, but rarely did. There was a plainness in the cinematography that gave these exotic and elaborate locales a mundane appearance.

When Liz finally found herself, I felt more lost than ever. Best I could glean from this film was that the journey to self-discovery involves trading up men, being sure each new love is more handsome and fawning than the last (no offense, Billy). One might argue Eat Pray Love is not a movie men can relate to; I'd argue a truly heartfelt story would have tugged at the soul of any viewer.

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  1. I think you described it perfectly - unsatisfying and underwhelming. That's exactly how I felt.

  2. @Jess: Thanks! Yeah, I kept trying to find more good in it, but it just wasn't there.

    @IW: I can tolerate one now and again, but this one was tough stuff.