Movie Review: Eat, Pray, LovePublished by Clay Cane on Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm.
Review: I’m sure you’ve heard the story by now — a woman unsatisfied with the excess of her upper-class life tries to find herself through traveling the world. Times are tough for Liz… she needs balance! Manhattan is getting to her! She doesn’t even want a salad for lunch! Oh, the horror!
I’d like to see an Eat, Pray, Love about a single mother in Brooklyn or Queens who is dealing with a tragic economy — how exactly would she find balance? A Greyhound trip to New Jersey? We all could have the option of “finding balance” if we didn’t have the stress of cash flow.
I am sure this will be an obvious complaint — but if people could afford to not work for a year, endlessly travel and never worry about a dime then none of us would have stress in our lives. We could all eat, pray and love, spending hours out of the week to meditate. Directed by Ryan Murphy, Eat, Pray, Love drowns in elitism that is eye-rolling; the intentions are good but too fantastical. I was waiting for unicorns and fairies to appear (an elephant does walk up to Julia!).
That said, in the beginning, Eat, Pray, Love is enjoyable with its gems of relationship wisdom. This is partly due to the good writing from the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. When the movie goes from narrative to storyline, the heart of the film gets abandoned in the Hollywood glam.
There is the good acting, which is a given. Yes, Julia Roberts is still an incredible actress. Then there is the always flawless and Tony Award-winning Viola Davis, who is unfortunately put into the small role of the best friend — again. As Meryl Streep said, “My God, somebody give her a movie!”
Also, the lensing has a cinematic beauty. Each frame is shot with detail, showcasing the character’s various travels — this is a better travel commercial than full length movie.
You can’t forget the constant eating. Sure, there is some liberation in Julia Roberts encouraging her friend to eat anything you want, but the repetition made Eat, Pray, Love feel like a preachy food commercial for D’Agostino.
Speaking of preachy, there is the high-context message of self-love, attempting to frame itself as a revolutionary tale for modern women. After all the whining that Liz doesn’t need a man, after being harassed by everyone possible that she must have a husband, after all the one-liners about independence — in the end, she ends up with a man using the clichéd excuse that she could fall in love now because she found herself. So, at the end of the two and a half hours we get to the same point of all the other stereotypical chick flicks. Eat, Pray, Love is an overly intellectual version of any other flavorless Jennifer Lopez or Kate Hudson romantic comedy.
Eat, Pray, Love is in theaters tomorrow.