Eat Pray Love (Blu-ray)
Based on the book of the same name, EAT PRAY LOVE follows a year in the life of writer Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts). When visiting with a medicine man in Bali, Liz is told the following: she will have two marriages (one long, one short), she will lose all of her money (but she will get it back), and that she will return to Bali to stay for a long period of time. After her trip, she returns to life in New York, unhappy with the path she has taken in life and with her marriage. Divorcing her husband (Billy Crudup) and jumping into the next relationship with a younger guy, David (James Franco), Liz debates what to do next with life. She decides to heed the medicine man’s words and return to Bali but adds to her adventure. To regain her zest for life, she plans a year escape and will visit Rome, India and end in Bali. With amazing visuals of each location and fantastic music supporting the scenes, I was confident that I would like this movie much more than the book since I couldn’t get past the ‘eat’ portion of the book. Since I made it through the entire movie, that is a plus, but I felt like this movie was a bit of a letdown in some ways and fabulous in other aspects.
The film fell short in showing the impact the relationship between David and Liz – it seemed like it was a two-week fling that Liz couldn’t quit dwelling over while in Italy, India and Bali. It didn’t seem that important and as a viewer I couldn’t get behind her agonizing over this relationship. Another way the film could have improved would have been with better editing choices. The pacing of this movie makes it feel like it drags in places and I could feel a glazed look come over me while waiting for some scenes to wrap up.
Julia Roberts did a good, not great, job as the conflicted Liz trying to discover a life balance. She sparkles in some scenes and is flat in others. As a seasoned actor I would have expected more from her, maybe that is why I am so hard on her performance? As mentioned earlier, I didn’t feel the importance of the relationship between Liz and David but thought that James Franco was a great fit for the role. One surprise was the performance of Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas. A bit of a curmudgeon at the start and someone Robert’s character avoids, watching their friendship and his character develop was one of the best parts of this movie. When they part ways I recognize the sadness of saying good bye to a dear friend. I thank the decision makers on this film for getting Javier Bardem to play Felipe. Not only is he great to look at, he emotes the right amount of charm, concern, and love for Liz and his son.
By far, the best characters in this film are the cities that Liz visits. The way the filmmakers capture the spirit of each city is refreshing and exciting. It feels like a travel journal or brochure at times and will have you reaching for your passport. One tip – be sure to watch this movie with a full stomach or else you will want to pause the film and have a meal when watching the Italy scenes. Even with a full stomach I still felt the yearning for some figs and prosciutto or a pile of spaghetti.
If you liked the book, I have a feeling you will enjoy the movie too. For those who have not read the book or couldn’t get through the book, you will find this to be a decent flick but nothing to write home about.
Video: (1.85:1 Widescreen) Beautifully captures the various cities we travel to in this movie.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Great for listening to the amazing soundtrack backing this film.
Ryan Murphy’s Journey with Eat Pray Love (4:18): Director Ryan Murphy’s take on the popular book and the personal connection that he felt with the book and making the movie.
The Beginning of the Journey (15:25): A look into the New York and Italy scenes with Elizabeth Gilbert reflecting on those moments along with a lot of people connected to the movie.
Praying in India (14:41): A look at shooting on location in India and the set up for various scenes with Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Roberts & Richard Jenkins to name a few commentators.
Finding Balance (11:48): Javier Bardem discusses Bali, his character in the movie and the rest of the Bali cast & crew discuss the happy ending for the book & movie. Lots of praise for the behind the scenes crew. These three behind the scenes looks make me like Liz Gilbert much more than when reading her book.
“Better Days” Music Video (4:12): A beautiful song written and performed by Eddie Vedder.