So as you may recall, I had HIGH expectations for the movie EAT PRAY LOVE. Not only did I completely LOVE the book AND Julia Roberts, but I also may have amped up the excitement prior to the movie’s release.
Okay, scratch that. In the interest of full disclosure, I TOTALLY AMPED UP THE HYPE. Which, as I’m assuming you smart people already know, is never a good thing. I will say this, though, the hype amp was lowered slightly as the scathing reviews continued to come in.
Only hard-core fans of Oprah’s BFF will be able to stomach this navel-gazing tripe, which posits “me-first” consumerism as the road to happiness.
~ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
An overlong bore that either mistakenly thinks it’s something more than a humdrum romance or has incorporated a variety of pretentions as window-dressing.
~ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
The movie left me with the feeling of being trapped with a person of privilege who won’t stop with the whine whine whine.
~ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Glibly portrays selfishness as a life choice, ranking gluttony on a par with finding God and a life partner.
~ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
SO WHAT DID I THINK?
Overall, I think it’s a fairly enjoyable movie. The scenery is beautiful, Julia is beautiful, the food is OMG, Javier Bardem is nothing short of yummmmm… BUT it definitely fell short.
I blame the reading before watching. I have no doubts that if I hadn’t read the book prior, I would’ve probably LOVED the movie. Alas, this was not the case.
The main problem is that ironically the Julia Robertsness that I’ve loved in other movies, engulfed a character whom I found to be far more emotionally accessible when I read the book. Maybe it was my head space at that time that influenced how I interpreted her, but the movie portrayal of Liz Gilbert felt way too Julia for me. I would have liked her to have played it a little bit more vulnerable and less entitled. I think it would’ve told the story better.
I also feel like the director and screen-writers did it a disservice in their lack of focus on the beginning of the story. There was a reason for Liz’s journey and, in the book, that reason was the agonizing end of her marriage, followed by an all-consuming rebound relationship. In the movie, her decision to end her marriage feels to have been made on a whim and is left pretty much unexplained, which makes her trip feel more like a vacation than the pilgrimage I found in the book.
Ladies will be happy to hear that one place where the movie wins is in Phillipe’s character. The book version of Phillipe was nowhere near as sexy as the Javier Bardem version. On the flip-side to that though, I need to mention that James Franco gives me the heebie jeebies. BLECH!
So there you have it. Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear what you think!!