Eat Pray Love: Eat It Up!

Eat Pray Love has enormous expectations attached to the film’s release. Given that the book is adored by tens of millions, there is a certain amount of pressure on filmmaker Ryan Murphy and star Julia Roberts to get the page to screen treatment right. So, do they?

Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love

Given the fact that the book Eat Pray Love is mostly in Elizabeth Gilbert's head, bringing her extraordinary story to the screen is an ambitious undertaking and for the most part, Murphy and Roberts succeed.

Eat Pray Love begins its film journey with Julia Roberts providing a narrative voice-over that truly aids in bringing Elizabeth Gilbert's incredibly introspective thoughts to life.

As the film commences, Liz (Julia Roberts) is a woman in her 30s who is unhappy in her marriage. In the book, little is known about the husband that Gilbert leaves when she sets off on her inner-outer journey. In the Eat Pray Love movie, the ex-husband, as played by Billy Crudup, is a much more flushed out character whose presence is felt throughout the film.

Once Liz decides to divorce her husband, she continues her life in New York City and immediately lands in the arms of another man (portrayed by James Franco). The man, much younger than she is, provides her no more self-satisfaction than her marriage did. It is here that Roberts' world-wide trek truly commences.

First, she heads to Italy to indulge in the art of enjoying food again. Before she travels to Italy, Roberts prophetically states to her onscreen BFF, played with panache by Viola Davis, that she wants to have the act of eating be something more than simply providing sustenance.

Director Ryan Murphy triumphs with his Eat Pray Love adaptation in particular in the section that takes place in Italy. Liz befriends some locals, as well as a Scandinavian woman, who in many ways serves as a catalyst to Liz's self-discovery.

Eat Pray Love

The "Eat" portion of Eat Pray Love is a treasure. The audience completes this journey with Roberts and feels the satisfaction of her soul completely. Then, the movie shifts to India.

For the final two-thirds of the film, the feel is much different than the tone set in Italy. That is on purpose and allows the audience to feel the disruption in a very real sense which mirrors Roberts' character on screen.

In India, the film drags a bit, as it does in Bali, the final destination. Eat Pray Love feels a little long and probably could have been cut by almost 25 minutes. But, for those enraptured with the book, no length of time could be seen as too much in bringing Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir to the big screen.

The acting is top notch throughout. Julia Roberts continues her streak of solid performances as she completely gets the Elizabeth Gilbert character, therefore book fans will be thrilled. Billy Crudup is also fantastic in the role that was essentially non-existent in the book. James Franco and Javier Bardem as Roberts' love interests are both solid, although Bardem's Brazilian accent is closer to his own Spanish one than that of the Brazilian character he portrays.

Of all the men in Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love world, the actor who steals the show is Oscar-nominee Richard Jenkins. His character is compelling, compassionate and provides more heart than any other character in the film (just as he does in the book, too). Jenkins always turns in stellar work, but in Eat Pray Love, this veteran actor may have his best performance ever.

Eat Pray Love review

Out of five stars:


Eat Pray Love trailer

Read on for more Eat Pray Love

Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love dish!
Billy Crudup talks Eat Pray Love and working with Julia Roberts

Recipes inspired by Eat Pray Love

Tags: billy crudup elizabeth gilbert

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Comments on "Eat Pray Love movie review"

Kathy September 03, 2010 | 9:05 PM

The movie is wonderul in it's story and the naturalness of the actors, until the last 25 minutes when Mr. Bardem appears and acts with a capital A, taking Miss Roberts with him. He is miscast in amovie that is perfectly cast and acted otherwise. Enjoy the movie and forgive the last act.

Janeen September 03, 2010 | 4:35 AM

"all she really needed was Jesus." Thank you, Ella! I was frustrated by the fact that Liz claimed to be searching for God within pointless chanting in India, but then used the name of Jesus as a swear word! put the two things together, lady....

Hol August 27, 2010 | 5:41 AM

Rachel, (aug 11, 2010) this is a Review NOT a SPOILER!!! Which is what you Just did for me! I haven't seen movie or read book But you just told us who haven't done either Way too much! Thanks for Ruining it! RUDE....

Max August 23, 2010 | 9:57 AM

The book was great - the movie a snooze. The protagonist, Liz, turned a little cranky and self-indulgent after the Italy sequence. Then again, who wouldn't be cranky with the length of the film and the predictable ending. This was a well-written book (and screenplay) that cried out for a twist at the end. (Maybe she doesn't need the guy?)

Groceriespizza August 21, 2010 | 8:03 AM

Six of us who all read the book together saw it together, and we all loved it. It was funny, warm, and engaging. If you have ever traveled into an environment where you don't know the language and just immersed yourself, you will like this movie! Two of us were former Peace Corps, two others extensive travelers, and one was foreign-born. This movie is about service, I think altruistic beings will understand the plot more than those who have never volunteered a day in their life. They won't see this as a journey that permanently changes.

Breathe August 21, 2010 | 7:52 AM

It is a DIARY, a DIARY. Diaries are self indulgent. People who watch movies 24/7 and never pick up a book need to keep their opinions to themselves. Self indulgent in Italy? Have you ever tried to learn a language? Her goal was to learn a new language, take herself out of herself. India was an opportunity to see herself from another's perspective. To think about someone outside of herself in a deep and meaningful manner. Bali was to serve another. Get a life. Get off of your couch, get a plane ticket, learn another language/culture then serve another and you will get it. By the way, use a paragraph once in a while. Readers can actually write a sentence without....!

Danny August 20, 2010 | 12:49 PM

Ella, you should write movie reviews! Well done, and my sentiments exactly. And I mean, EXACTLY.

Ella August 19, 2010 | 9:56 PM

About "Eat, Pray, Love". I had high hopes for the movie based upon the book's top reviews (which I never did read). But all that I can say is that nothing in the movie saved it from itself. After the first 10 minutes, the main character, Liz, (whom Julia plays) comes off as a selfish female focused only upon herself. Never mind that her husband loves her, does not want the divorce, has not cheated on her, and the only thing Liz can come up with as a reason for them to divorce is that they have grown apart. Jeepers, wouldn't we all want to move on when we get a little bored with our significant other? She immediately falls into the bed of a 28 year old before she divorces, but figures out 2 minutes (I mean 2 weeks) later that they are not as passionate anymore, so off to Italy she flies in search of her self. Good for her, but pity Italy. Though the scenes from the streets, cafes, and restaurants in Rome are nostalgic, there is no great, Italian scenery to thrill the traveling heart....OK, maybe a couple of 2 second clips in Tuscany, but that's it. In Italy, she drinks lots of wine, indulges in plates of spaghetti, and learns that life is about really living in the moment and loving yourself (oh brother). After 3 months of self indulgence in Italy, she's off to a compound in Calcutta in search of the Guru who will bring her peace. There she learns that through scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, attending early morning prayers to the Guru, and befriending a rough-edged ex pat from Texas who is also there to worship the Guru, that love and God are within yourself (yawn). And finally (thank God, because all this shallow soul searching is getting tedious) she leaves India for Bali to meditate at the feet of a medicine man and ends up in bed with the Brazilian ex pat who now calls Bali his home and whom she later marries (not in the movie). And if one thinks that finally, she has now found true love and inner peace, the poor Brazilian schmuck who seduces her falls very hard for her and wants her to spend the rest of her life with him. But oh no, after weeks of nothing but constant with several seconds of coming up for air, she leaves him in tears on the beach because the thought of commitment is so scary to her. Instead, she must go back to the medicine man to inquire, and decides to leave Bali for good and return to the States. Two hours before her plane is scheduled to leave, (yup, we can all see what is coming), she suddenly realizes that she has found true love and runs down to the beach to meet Brazilian hunk and they sail off on a boat out into the sunset (or something like that). Poor Liz......I kept thinking the whole way through the movie until the final second (and it took 2 1/2 hours of plodding through the muck to get there) that all that she really needed was Jesus. So that's my summary of a very self indulgent, spiritually empty, and dull woman who has somehow written about her shallow existence and search for meaning in such a way that it became a best selling book and now a movie. Go figure.

Rachel August 11, 2010 | 4:53 PM

Eat, Pray, Love is almost here! I can't wait! Thanks for posting the review and the trailer!

Sara August 11, 2010 | 4:00 PM

I cannot WAIT to see this movie! Thanks for the review!

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