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Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love," unread by me, spent 150 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and is by some accounts a good one. It is also movie material, concerning as it does a tall blond (Gilbert) who ditches a failing marriage and a disastrous love affair to spend a year living in Italy, India and Bali seeking to find the balance of body, mind and spirit.
During this journey, great-looking men are platooned at her, and a wise man, who has to be reminded who she is, remembers instantly, although what he remembers is only what she's just told him.
I gather Gilbert's "prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible" (New York Times Book Review), and if intelligence, wit and exuberance are what you're looking for, Julia Roberts is an excellent choice as the movie's star. You can see how it would be fun to spend a year traveling with Gilbert. A lot more fun than spending nearly two hours watching a movie about it. I guess you have to belong to the narcissistic subculture of Woo-Woo.
Here is a movie about Liz Gilbert. About her quest, her ambition, her good luck in finding only nice men, including the ones she dumps. She funds her entire trip, including scenic accommodations, ashram, medicine man, guru, spa fees and wardrobe, on her advance to write this book. Well, the publisher obviously made a wise investment. It's all about her, and a lot of readers can really identify with that. Her first marriage apparently broke down primarily because she tired of it, although Roberts at (a sexy and attractive) 43 makes an actor's brave stab at explaining they were "young and immature." She walks out on the guy ( Billy Crudup ) and he still likes her and reads her on the Web.
In Italy, she eats such Pavarottian plates of pasta that I hope one of the things she prayed for in India was deliverance from the sin of gluttony. At one trattoria she apparently orders the entire menu, and I am not making this up. She meets a man played by James Franco , about whom, enough said. She shows moral fibre by leaving such a dreamboat for India, where her quest involves discipline in meditation, for which she allots three months rather than the recommended lifetime. There she meets a tall, bearded, bespectacled older Texan ( Richard Jenkins ) who is without question the most interesting and attractive man in the movie, and like all of the others seems innocent of lust.
In Bali she revisits her beloved adviser Ketut Liyer ( Hadi Subiyanto ), who is a master of truisms known to us all. Although he connects her with a healer who can mend a nasty cut with a leaf applied for a few hours, his own skills seem limited to the divinations anyone could make after looking at her, and telling her things about herself after she has already revealed them.
Now she has found Balance, begins to dance on the high wire of her life. She meets Felipe ( Javier Bardem ), another divorced exile, who is handsome, charming, tactful, forgiving and a good kisser. He explains that he lives in Bali because his business is import-export, "which you can do anywhere" — although later, he explains she must move to Bali because "I live in Bali because my business is here." They've both forgotten what he said earlier. Unless perhaps you can do import-export anywhere, but you can only import and export from Bali when you live there. That would certainly be my alibi.
The audience I joined was perhaps 80 percent female. I heard some sniffles and glimpsed some tears, and no wonder. "Eat Pray Love" is shameless wish-fulfillment, a Harlequin novel crossed with a mystic travelogue, and it mercifully reverses the life chronology of many people, which is Love Pray Eat.
Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.
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Eat Pray Love (2010)
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity
James Franco as David
Richard Jenkins as Richard
Viola Davis as Delia Shiraz
Javier Bardem as Felipe
Billy Crudup as Stephen
Hadi Subiyanto as Ketut Liyer
Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert
- Ryan Murphy
- Jennifer Salt
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Eat pray love, common sense media reviewers.
Find-your-bliss film appeals but raises questions, too.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie suggests that when you find yourself liv
Liz is lost in the beginning of the movie. She doe
Couples kiss tenderly. Lots of flirtation, some re
Words used include "s--t," "screw,&
Not many labels, but the book and the movie have e
Some social drinking at parties, bars, and restaur
Parents need to know that this romantic drama based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert examines what happens when a woman walks away from the life (and husband) she knows to travel the world in search of meaning, balance, and joy. That's fairly heavy material for tweens, which is part of why this movie is…
The movie suggests that when you find yourself living a life that turns out to not be what you wanted or dreamed of, it’s time to reboot, even if that means a complete overhaul. Yes, feelings will get hurt, and the pain may last for months or even years. But the risk is worth it, the movie says, to find happiness.
Positive Role Models
Liz is lost in the beginning of the movie. She doesn’t like the life she has, and she doesn’t know how to get the one she wants. She opts to take big risks to seek wisdom and joy, which is admirable. But there are casualties in her search for enlightenment.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples kiss tenderly. Lots of flirtation, some references to “sexy time,” and talk about a woman's need to end her self-prescribed celibacy. In one scene, a man strips down and asks the main character to go skinny dipping -- viewers see his bare backside a couple of times.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Words used include "s--t," "screw," "ass," “goddamn," "hell," "damn," "oh my God," and “bulls--," plus one “motherf---er.”
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Not many labels, but the book and the movie have encouraged many Eat Pray Love -inspired product tie-ins
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some social drinking at parties, bars, and restaurants. A woman gets drunk at a a party and suffers a huge hangover the morning after. Some references in casual conversation to Xanax and meth.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this romantic drama based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert examines what happens when a woman walks away from the life (and husband) she knows to travel the world in search of meaning, balance, and joy. That's fairly heavy material for tweens, which is part of why this movie is more age-appropriate for teens and adults, who will be better able to appreciate the movie's life lessons. Expect some discussions about sex, celibacy, and relationships; a few glimpses of a naked male butt; and some swearing (including "s--t" and one "motherf---er") and drinking (including one scene in which a character gets quite drunk).
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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- Parents say (6)
- Kids say (12)
Based on 6 parent reviews
Report this review
Well-made, thought-provoking, and beautiful film; too racy for kids.
This title has:
What's the Story?
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert ( Julia Roberts ) suddenly finds herself feeling trapped in a marriage she doesn't want, in a life she didn't envision. Despite the fact that she chose to fashion that very life, now she wants out -- and that realization will destroy her husband ( Billy Crudup ) and worry her friends. A love affair with a young actor ( James Franco ) isn't the answer, and neither is disappearing into her sorrows. So she decides to go to Italy, where she hopes to rediscover her passion for food, and, perhaps, life; to India, where she seeks spiritual connection; and to Bali, where she may finally forgive herself. It's there that she meets a Brazilian man ( Javier Bardem ) who just might convince her that love is worth the risk.
Is It Any Good?
All hail Julia Roberts: As Elizabeth Gilbert's avatar in this cinematic adaptation of the bestselling memoir Eat Pray Love , she's luminous and beautiful. Her faint wrinkles assure us that she hasn't been Botoxed or plastic-surgeried to death, and she's every bit the likable America's sweetheart she's known to be. With her in the starring role, a supporting cast filled with the likes of Bardem, Franco, Crudup, Viola Davis, and Richard Jenkins , and an inspired-by-real-life story set against some of the most photogenic locales in the world, how can it go wrong?
On one level, it doesn't. The film is convincingly stirring, and it hits all of the emotional notes that movies like these are supposed to hit. It's dreamy, it makes you think, and it even makes you cry. But poetic and unforgettable it's not. Some moments have been fashioned with heavy hands; you can feel the filmmakers pushing you to Feel Something. The film skates over why Liz can't abide the life she leads and the wreckage she leaves behind. And it incites the same debate that the book itself did: Is this chronicling a so-called self-indulgent journey that only the affluent can embark upon? Is it superficial? Or is it transformative? And does that matter when the film is, yes, entertaining?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. Who do you think it's trying to reach? What is it saying to that audience?
Liz finds her bliss through a complete change in scenery, literally and figuratively. How realistic is this option for most people? What do you think would have happened if she hadn't been able to escape?
What eventually persuades Liz to leave her husband? Is her struggle relatable? Believable?
- In theaters : August 13, 2010
- On DVD or streaming : November 23, 2010
- Cast : Billy Crudup , Javier Bardem , Julia Roberts
- Director : Ryan Murphy
- Studio : Columbia Pictures
- Genre : Drama
- Run time : 133 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG-13
- MPAA explanation : brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity
- Last updated : April 27, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Eat Pray Love Reviews
Unlike the original source, Eat Pray Love presents a flawless caricature that's on an idyllic, hiccup-free trip in a world full of kind people who are happy to be at the mercy of this lost American tourist. [Full review in Spanish]
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Nov 21, 2022
A never ending yawn. [Full review in Spanish]
Full Review | Jul 19, 2022
Not a good film by any means, but sometimes you need a bad film of exactly this ilk: frothy, silly and as pleasurable as wrapping yourself in a warm blanket.
Full Review | Nov 5, 2021
Without discounting the importance of Gilbert's decision... it can't be removed from its context: it's a story about choosing self over prescribed generic femininity, a world of your own making over the deeply patriarchal American upper-middle class.
Full Review | Jun 9, 2021
Eat Pray Love is more of a romanticized travelogue, rather than a truly transformative one.
Full Review | May 23, 2021
In many ways I don't even consider Eat Pray Love a film. I see it as more akin to a very well made travel brochure.
Full Review | May 19, 2021
This translation to the big screen is dull, boring, and largely unaffecting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/10 | Nov 29, 2020
Wraps it all up infinitely tighter and neater than does Gilbert's book.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.0/4.0 | Sep 7, 2020
Full Review | Mar 2, 2019
... almost two and a half hours in which [Julia Roberts] displays her charisma... [Full review in Spanish]
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Mar 19, 2018
With 6 million readers of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, clearly, the movie has big shoes to fill. It may not succeed, but Julia Roberts and the film's designers give us a lot to enjoy.
Full Review | Original Score: 6.5/10 | Dec 3, 2017
An engaging but deliberate chick flick at times, Eat, Pray, Love has the quintessential chick flick star at the helm with Roberts, who played the role beautifully...
Full Review | Original Score: A- | Sep 9, 2017
The unexamined privilege, the idealization/exotification of all places east, the canned spirituality, the sensual goddamn spaghetti-it's all so focus-group-tested and Oprah approved and self-perpetuating and embarrassing.
Full Review | Aug 30, 2017
Let's face it. There are some books that should never be made into movies.
Full Review | Aug 11, 2017
This gentle, meditative, well-told tale has a lot to offer.
Full Review | Mar 7, 2017
Eat Pray Love is overlong and quickly becomes tedious. It features narcissistic, inward looking characters of no interest at all and amounts to a very poorly made film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/10 | Nov 9, 2013
Full Review | Original Score: B- | Feb 18, 2012
Liz maybe the most unlikeable character Julia Roberts has ever had to play, not because co-writer/director Ryan Murphy is trying to make her so but because everything the film does pushes her in that direction.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10 | Mar 21, 2011
A seemingly interminable romantic travelogue that feels as though it takes as long to watch as the year-long spiritual quest it depicts.
Full Review | Mar 14, 2011
The film version is pure wish-fulfillment fantasy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Jan 31, 2011
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My guilty pleasure: Eat Pray Love
Writing a negative review of Eat Pray Love isn't like shooting fish in a barrel. It's like hauling out a fish, placing the barrel of a revolver against its slimy gills, then pulling the trigger while intoning a grave, possibly aquatic-themed, soliloquy. The irony being that Liz Gilbert, the character Julia Roberts plays in the film, would cheerily consume said fish. She would then go on to share some little-known and untranslatable foreign epithet that captures the indefinable feeling of consuming seafood that would have otherwise been destined for the chum bucket. I don't know what the exact term is, but it would probably ends in - delle , or - isimo , or - ante . And then she'd probably peer over her oversized grand-dame shades, breadstick pressed erotically against bottom lip, so she could wink directly to camera as if to say: "I am one of you. Join me."
But I came here to praise Eat Pray Love, Ryan Murphy's largely despised 2010 film, based on the million-selling volume of Martini-time spiritualism by (the actual) Elizabeth Gilbert , not bury it. Demanding that a bile-fuelled film journalist should temporarily suppress his or her ingrained prejudices in order to care about the travails of a successful career woman who, for reasons known only to her, opts to dispense with her strutting, frappuccino-doused Manhattan lifestyle for a year-long romp of global self-discovery, was always going to be a big ask. It's hard not to hate the entitled souls that Roberts's character represents. We may even be turned off by the fact that her character, for most of the film, resembles nothing less than a tie-dyed Quaver.
But this negativity is likely born out of fear, similar to the feeling of seeing an embarrassing photo from your formative years. There are objectionable people in the world. They exist. Why shouldn't movies be made about them? Thus, hating Eat Pray Love is an act of self-hatred, each splenetic tirade directed at the soft-focus screen a lash of the cat 'o nine tales on an already amply withered derriere.
There's a psychological barrier one needs to scale in order to locate any real value or nourishment in a film fronted by a character who might evoke extreme revulsion in one and extreme sympathy in another. With Gilbert, we're given someone who is paddling her toe-ringed feet in both of these murky "feelings pools". She is neither hero nor villain, prophet nor demon. Some will be charmed by her militantly carpe diem attitude to life, while others might baulk at her blasé sense of white liberal entitlement. It's refreshing to consume a piece of cinema that forces the viewer to grapple with an ambivalent central relationship for an extended runtime – a clever reflection of Liz's own untenable feelings about male relationships.
The film also displays the guts not to pander to a conventional story arc, thereby making it a truer representation of real life. It defies cosy cinematic characterisation, combining as it does elements of the romantic comedy, the psychodrama, the visual bildungsroman, the Malickian philosophical tract, the adventure quest movie and, in its giddy formal acrobatics, the Italian giallo genre. The camera frantically hovers and zooms above Liz, chronicling the fragile moments that we take for granted and that inevitably result in small but important epiphanies, and not the ones that we might pre-suppose an onlooker would find interesting.
Her journey is predicated on indecision, and indecision is not a trait that tends to curry much favour in the movies. One of the greatest films ever made, Éric Rohmer 's The Green Ray from 1988, tackles this no-no concept head-on, telling the story of a woman (played by Marie Rivière) whose deep-seated depression and possible death anxiety are made manifest by her inability to settle on a destination for her summer holiday. Rohmer never once demands we like his plucky lead, only that we might empathise with her complexities and flaws. The same could be said of Liz Gilbert in Eat Pray Love.
Finally, the thing that most people miss with Eat Pray Love is that it is a piece of satire, a pin-sharp mockery of the source book and all its can-do, "you-go-girl", chakra-aligning aphorisms. Just as Paul Verhoeven repurposed Robert Heinlein's 60s sci-fi novel Starship Troopers by delicately inverting its reactionary themes, so too does writer-director Murphy (perhaps unknowingly) turn Eat Pray Love into a Hogarthian critique of Sunday supplement dream-chasing instigated by people who wear billowy cheesecloth and view all non-Americans as kooky sages. Why else would Roberts be acting as if she is fully conscious that she's in a movie?
Early reports of Murphy's attempts to distance his film from the book by suggesting alternate titles (Antipasti Nights, Meditate on This!, Let's Get Metaphysical, etc) show that he was attempting to impose a supplementary subtextual layer to proceedings. What initially comes across as the result of a drunken game of Expedia Russian roulette soon reaches a plateau of banal transcendence, a kind of feminist 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which Roberts manages to locate a new age in the picturesque seafront coves of Bali. This, it transpires, was a new kind of ultimate trip.
- My guilty pleasure
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My guilty pleasure: My Best Friend's Wedding
My guilty pleasure: The Bodyguard
My guilty pleasure: Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
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My guilty pleasure: Labor Day
Eat Pray Love
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Eat pray love — film review.
The film never ventures, even once, into a situation that does not reek of the familiar.
By Kirk Honeycutt
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In “ Eat Pray Love ,” Julia Robert’s character, Liz Gilbert, takes a holiday from her miserable life as a well-respected, financially secure New York writer, loved by men she cannot love back and despairing of her own inner emptiness. She travels the world to seek enlightenment, a journey — she never hesitates to tell anyone she meets — outside her own comfort zone. For the viewer though, it’s anything but. The film never ventures, even once, into a situation that does not reek of comfy familiarity.
Of course, the Elizabeth Gilbert memoir on which the movie is based also got criticized for its Western fetishization of Eastern thought and the overly self-conscious nature of this journey — reportedly paid for with a publisher’s advance for the book itself. None of that stopped her memoir from becoming a bestseller translated into 40 languages. So with Julia Roberts making one of her increasingly rare starring appearances and the sensual beauty of Italy, India and Indonesia as backdrop for the romanticized navel-gazing, “Eat Pray Love” should attract a substantial female audience, a demographic ill-served by the summer’s mostly testosterone-fueled movies.
'eat, pray, love' author and partner hold "ceremony of love", 'eat pray love' author elizabeth gilbert reveals separation from husband.
Working from a screenplay he wrote with Jennifer Salt, director Ryan Murphy, the creator of TV series “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” never loses track of the story’s bestseller attributes: foreign landscapes photographed at sunset or sunrise, food displayed with mouth-watering intensity, peripheral characters bursting with vitality, all men unnaturally gorgeous — or at least interesting — and female self-discovery as the unwavering central focus.
Reeling from a divorce and an affair that didn’t do the trick either, Liz tells her best friend and publisher (Viola Davis, not given nearly enough to do) that she intends to chuck everything for a year to research herself in exotic foreign climes. Everyone including her ex (Billy Crudup) and new boy toy (James Franco) pull long faces, but this gal makes a career out of thinking of nobody but herself.
Several months are spent in Rome to enjoy food and life (Eat), then off to India for meditation in an ashram (Pray) and finally to Bali, Indonesia, to search for “balance” but finding herself off-balance instead with a Brazilian divorcee (Love).
Each segment is thoroughly enjoyable in a touristic sort of way. And Roberts throws herself wholeheartedly into the role of the inner-truth seeker.
There, of course, lies the problem. One can line a bookcase with memoirs, novels and DVDs about urban malcontents discovering food and life in Mediterranean climes. At least another bookshelf could be devoted to popular entertainments where Westerners seek spirituality in the East, dating back to Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge” if not the earlier works of Hermann Hesse. Bali is a bit off the beaten path for such self-help entertainments, but after those terrorist bombings the place could use positive publicity.
In each segment, Liz is given role models. In Rome, a Scandinavian (Tuva Novotny) and local language coach (the absurdly handsome Luca Argentero) show Liz how to embrace life through cuisine. The girls even nip away to Naples for a pizza sequence! Her Roman lesson: Don’t be afraid to attack life.
In an unnamed Indian ashram, Richard Jenkins plays a Texan who struggles to forgive himself for his alcoholic past. He mocks and kids Liz to cajole her to do likewise. Then a young girl (Rushita Singh), who dreads her arranged marriage, reminds Liz of her own unarranged marriage and its failure. Her Indian lesson: God dwells within me.
In Bali, two healers (Indonesian screen legend Christine Hakim and newcomer Hadi Subiyanto) provide Liz with medicine for her ailing soul. Her Bali lesson: If you’re a good girl, you may get Javier Bardem.
As Liz literally sails off into a sunset, you imagine that last lesson will be the one that sticks.
There is an undeniable attractiveness to all this, however doubtful the self-realization lessons may be. One can imagine whiling away pleasant hours watching this movie again as a late-night DVD or in-flight movie. The charms of each location and the vigor of the film’s supporting players cast a romantic glow. No, travel — and certainly self-realization — is never quite like this with Robert Richardson’s iridescent landscapes and loving portraits of colorful bystanders, the brilliant, exotic sets and costumes by Bill Groom and Michael Dennison and nicely unhurried pace of Bradley Buecker’s editing. But it should be.
Opens: Aug. 13 (Columbia Pictures) Production companies: A Plan B Entertainment production Cast: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem, Christine Hakim, Rushita Singh Director: Ryan Murphy Screenwriters: Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt Based on the book by: Elizabeth Gilbert Producer: Dede Gardner Executive producers: Brad Pitt Jeremy Kleiner, Stan Wlodkowski Director of photography: Robert Richardson Production designer: Bill Groom Music: Dario Marianelli Costume designer: Michael Dennison Editor: Bradley Buecker Rated PG-13, 140 minutes
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'Eat Pray Love': Have Bucks, Will Travel (To Find Self)
The Elephant Brief: Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love , the story of one woman's unexamined first-world privilege -- er, that is, her soul-searching trip to India, Indonesia and other points around the globe. Francois Duhamel/Sony Pictures hide caption
Eat Pray Love
- Director: Ryan Murphy
- Genre: Drama
- Running Time: 133 minutes
'I'm In Love'
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'Best Restaurant In Town'
"I wanted to explore one aspect of myself set against the backdrop of each country, in a place that has traditionally done that one thing very well," writes Elizabeth Gilbert in her popular memoir Eat, Pray, Love . "I wanted to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India, and in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two."
Therein lies the premise and the problem with Eat, Pray, Love , at least in its frustrating (and comma-free) screen incarnation: The world exists as a kind of sprawling, full-service spa treatment for the soul, neatly compartmentalized to nourish the senses, the spirit and the heart. Nice therapy if you can swing it.
Though Eat Pray Love never loses the sour whiff of unexamined first-world privilege, its heroine does at least immerse herself in different cultures rather than expecting them to adapt to her. As played by a sun-kissed Julia Roberts, Liz has undertaken this adventure partly to open up to new experiences and loosen the vise-grip she's previously maintained over every aspect of her life, and the little tension that surfaces in her journey is owed to the push and pull between her itinerary -- as defined by the book pitch (and advance money) that made it all possible -- and her desire to feel truly unmoored and liberated. That's the essence of a true vacation, and she has to work hard for it.
Before Liz ever steps on a plane, events in her life conspire to do all the packing for her. Feeling shackled by a domestic situation she never wanted, Liz enters into a contentious divorce with her flaky husband (Billy Crudup), then immediately throws herself into a go-nowhere rebound fling with a young and none-too-talented actor (a charming James Franco). The book deal affords her an opportunity to flee Manhattan for a year and define herself apart from a relationship for once. Which raises an obvious rhetorical question: Is there any reason for us to tag along on her personal journey?
Love, Indonesian Style: While trying to recover after a messy divorce, Liz (Julia Roberts) meets Felipe (Javier Bardem), a Brazilian architect, in Bali. Francois Duhamel/Sony Pictures hide caption
Love, Indonesian Style: While trying to recover after a messy divorce, Liz (Julia Roberts) meets Felipe (Javier Bardem), a Brazilian architect, in Bali.
Well, as a sensual experience, Eat Pray Love falls squarely in the tradition of other femme-centered cinematic staycations, like Enchanted April or Under the Tuscan Sun, and certainly it's transporting to watch Roberts consume pizza in Naples or drift along crystalline currents off the coast of Bali.
She also encounters a few fascinating seekers in her travels, including a prickly old Texan (Richard Jenkins), whom she befriends at an Indian ashram and a Brazilian businessman in Indonesia, played by Javier Bardem at his most devastatingly suave . In the film's travel-brochure paradise, they make for agreeable companions.
Trouble is, we're still stuck with Liz, who never passes up the chance to process her encounters into Oprah-fied nuggets of wisdom. At her worst, she's like a narcissistic tour guide who invites sightseers to marvel at the spectacular vistas and cascading waters inside her own head. Much as Eat Pray Love is about letting go, Liz's habit of imposing pop-psychological significance on every encounter suggests she's still her controlling self. She -- and the movie -- would have been better off letting the world speak for itself.
Eat Pray Love: Movie Review
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Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, Julia Roberts' new movie Eat Pray Love chronicles a “rediscovering self” journey around the world. As expected, the film follows Gilbert's exploration of exotic cultures and Eastern religions. Foul language and nudity push what could be a PG-rated movie to PG-13 status.
The Movie in a Minute
Liz (Julia Roberts) is living the dream life with husband Stephen (Billy Crudup), a house in New York, and a successful career. Desperate to find peace and fulfillment, Liz realizes she's not leaving her dream. After divorcing Stephen, Liz falls into a relationship with a young actor named David (James Franco), whom she eventually leaves to embark on a worldwide excursion. In her travels, she gets nourished in Italy, prays in India, and attempts to find balance – and possibly a true love (Javier Bardem as Felipe) – in Bali.
Eat Pray Love : The Good vs. The Bad
A story about finding meaning in your life, Eat Pray Love attempts to inspire audiences to focus on what truly matters – yourself. The perceived worldview behind this expedition of self-discovery is that before you can love someone else you must first love yourself. Though this thought is not invalid, it lends itself toward a selfish way of living, one filled with self-gratification and self-based beliefs.
Liz’s “new” life stems from a prophecy she received from a Balinese medicine man as he read her palm. Feeling like she had no pulse in her New York life, she drops everything – marriage included – and moves on. Reaching for answers in the midst of a tough divorce, Liz picks up self-help books and begins a relationship with David, one built on infatuation more than love. Convinced she can find peace on her travels, she makes one last ditch effort to find God and some peace on this around-the-world adventure. On Liz’s tour of Italy, India, and Bali, she immerses herself in pleasure and meditation with the hope that they will satisfy her emptiness.
Julia Roberts, as Liz, does pray to God in the beginning of the film. With no context to tell us otherwise, it’s assumed that she is praying to the God we know. However, during her relationship with young David, she’s introduced to the teachings of a guru. As Liz's journey progresses, it becomes clear that she believes that all faiths point to one deity, that all paths lead to the same spiritual conclusion. On her second trip to Bali, the medicine man teaches her the importance of a balanced life, “not too much god, not too much self.”
Even with a reverence toward faith and spirituality, Eat Pray Love doesn't embrace Christianity. Though the intention to alienate our faith may not have been in the minds of the author or filmmakers, it is still evident in the movie. It's interesting that even as Eastern religions are being esteemed, in the next moment Christ is not revered (i.e., the vain use of Jesus’ name).
Since spirituality is on the table in Eat Pray Love , it’s important to note that morality doesn’t seem to be affected by it. Sex outside of marriage is a recurring theme in the film, including a scene where a male’s bare rear is exposed as he proposes that Liz has sex with him. But hey, “everyone has a love affair in Bali.”
That all said, here is this critic's take on the entertainment value. The casting director should get a raise. Lead actress Julia Roberts is joined with a fantastic supporting cast in the likes of Billy Crudup ( Public Enemies ), Richard Jenkins ( Dear John , The Visitor ), James Franco ( Spider-Man ), Viola Davis ( Doubt ), and Javier Bardem ( No Country for Old Men ). The direction of the film is well choreographed due to the talent of director Ryan Murphy, one of the creators of TV’s hit show Glee . Seeing the sites of Italy, India, and Bali through his lens, will motivate you to travel and experience these places for yourself. The messages on helping others in need and Liz’s relearning of the importance of family are both good ones to hear.
One qualm is with the film’s length. Coming in at almost 2 and a half hours, Eat Pray Love is too long. At the moment when you’re witnessing Liz’s travels in Italy and you realize that you’ve got two more countries to go, you’ll feel it.
Keeping in mind that this film is a secular story about a woman’s search for meaning, Eat Love Pray is a pretty good film, especially considering its skilled cast and director. However, its promotion of Eastern religions, the idea of picking up and leaving your life behind, and the foul language and nudity, make it unlikable from a Christian’s perspective. Was it entertaining and well made? Sure. Was it morally conscience or religiously fair? No.
About The Author
Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for CBN.com, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for CBN.com. For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as CBN.com's More
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Eat Pray Love
A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "f... Read all A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself". A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".
- Ryan Murphy
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- Elizabeth Gilbert
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Liz Gilbert : In the end, I've come to believe in something I call "The Physics of the Quest." A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.
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Review: ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
Reeling from a divorce, a writer sought solace in Italy, India and Indonesia. There, she found peace — and plenty of material for a blockbuster memoir.
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- Oct. 21, 2021
EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert | Review first published Feb. 28, 2006
Early on in “Eat, Pray, Love,” her travelogue of spiritual seeking, the novelist and journalist Elizabeth Gilbert gives a frank rundown of her traveling skills: Tall and blond, she doesn’t blend well physically in most places; she’s lazy about research and prone to digestive woes. “But my one mighty travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody,” she writes. “I can make friends with the dead.”
This is easy to believe. If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven’t found him or her. And I don’t mean this as consolation prize, along the lines of “but she’s really, really nice.” I mean that Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible and makes the reader only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in.
Her previous work of nonfiction, “The Last American Man,” was a portrait of a modern-day wilderness expert that became an evocative meditation on the American frontier and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002.
Here, Gilbert’s subject is herself. Reeling from a contentious divorce, a volatile rebound romance and a bout of depression, she decided at 34 to spend a year traveling in Italy, India and Indonesia. “I wanted to explore one aspect of myself set against the backdrop of each country, in a place that has traditionally done that one thing very well,” she writes. “I wanted to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two.”
At its best, the book provides an occasion for Gilbert to unleash her fresh, oddball sensibility on an international stage. She describes Messina, Italy, as “a scary and suspicious Sicilian port town that seems to howl from behind barricaded doors, ‘It’s not my fault that I’m ugly! I’ve been earthquaked and carpet-bombed and raped by the Mafia, too!’” Later, she sees a Balinese mother “balancing on her head a three-tiered basket filled with fruit and flowers and a roasted duck — a headgear so magnificent and impressive that Carmen Miranda would have bowed down in humility before it.”
Gilbert also takes pleasure in poking fun at herself. At an Indian ashram, she winningly narrates the play of her thoughts while she tries to meditate: “I was wondering where I should live once this year of traveling has ended. … If I lived somewhere cheaper than New York, maybe I could afford an extra bedroom and then I could have a special meditation room! That’d be nice. I could paint it gold. Or maybe a rich blue. No, gold. No, blue. … Finally noticing this train of thought, I was aghast. I thought: … How about this, you spastic fool — how about you try to meditate right here, right now, right where you actually are?”
“Eat, Pray, Love” is built on the notion of a woman trying to heal herself from a severe emotional and spiritual crisis; Gilbert suggests more than once that she was at risk for suicide. But she short shrifts her own emotional state for the sake of keeping the reader entertained. She writes of feeling depressed and lonely in Italy, “Loneliness starts interrogating me. … He asks why I can’t get my act together, and why I’m not at home living in a nice house and raising nice children like any respectable woman my age should be.”
But wait a second — Gilbert is a New York journalist who has spent the prior several years traveling the world on assignment. In her chosen milieu, it would be unusual if she were married and raising kids in a house at age 34 — by her own account, she left her husband precisely to avoid those things. I’m willing to believe that Gilbert despaired over having failed at a more conventional life even as she sought out its opposite — complications like these are what make us human. But she doesn’t tell that story here, or even acknowledge the paradox. As a result, her crisis remains a shadowy thing.
What comes through much more strongly is her charisma and luck. At one point, Gilbert petitions God to move her husband to sign their divorce agreement and gets a nearly instant result.
Putting aside questions of credibility, the problem with these testaments to Gilbert’s personal power is that they undercut any sense of urgency about her future. “Eat, Pray, Love” suffers from a case of low stakes; one reads for the small vicissitudes of Gilbert’s journey never really doubting that things will come right. By the time she reaches Indonesia, Gilbert herself admits that the stated purpose of the visit has already been accomplished.
Lacking a ballast of gravitas or grit, the book lists into the realm of magical thinking: Nothing Gilbert touches seems to turn out wrong. What’s missing are the textures and confusion and unfinished business of real life. While I wouldn’t begrudge this massively talented writer a single iota of joy or peace, I found myself more interested in the awkward, unresolved stuff she must have chosen to leave out.
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Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love was more than just one woman's story from the very beginning-- writer Elizabeth Gilbert funded her year-long trip around the world with a publisher's advance, and experienced her stays in Italy, India and Indonesia with the knowledge that they would go into a book, and hopefully a successful one. The resulting bestseller phenomenon is something no one could have anticipated, but now that we have Eat Pray Love the movie, it's clearer than ever that Liz Gilbert, as played by Julia Roberts, is more avatar for all women than an actual human being. We watch her and her blond highlights and her tasteful clothes travel the globe because we cannot do the same, and whatever story might come along with it needs only to not get in the way of all the wish-fulfillment going on in the theater.
Ryan Murphy might seem like an odd choice to handle all of this, given that his current hit show Glee gets in its own way constantly, subbing cute lines and manic plot twists for actual character and story. But Eat Pray Love swings the opposite direction, taking itself and its star way too seriously to carry the same thrill as Gilbert's book. Roberts positively sparkles in the lead role-- and she's in nearly every frame, so that helps a lot-- but the loose structure and deliberately uncertain resolution of the book translate oddly to the screen, a woman struggling to find her purpose in a movie that doesn't understand itself, much less her.
For all the things Eat Pray Love does right, it must constantly overcome its cardinal sin of turning a quick little book into a bloated monster of a movie. Eat Pray Love is nearly two and a half hours long, to the point that 45 minutes go by before Gilbert does any of the three things promised in the title; the story lingers on her divorce (from an affable and slightly pathetic Billy Crudup) longer than the book did, creates a romantic god out of a minor fling (played by a disheveled and sexy James Franco), and doggedly sticks with Gilbert's New York life until we're practically screaming at her to get the hell on that plane. In her book Gilbert established in a few quick sentences the total devastation of divorce, but Murphy and his co-screenwriter Jennifer Salt spend much more time telling us much less; when Gilbert arrives in Italy we're intended to feel her thrill of being alone at last, but despite all that exposition we're still struggling to understand this unusual woman able to live the fantasy of leaving it all behind.
There was a sharp realism at the center of Gilbert's book that grounded all the self-obsessed yammering, but all of that, predictably, is absent here. The real Gilbert spent her time in Rome learning how to live life on her own and deliberately resisting romance; movie Gilbert constantly shares meals at tables full of laughing, international faces, and ends her stay with a speech about how lucky she is to be part of a community. The segment at an ashram in India is mostly unscathed, thanks to a beautifully felt performance from Richard Jenkins as a fellow worshipper, but in the movie version Gilbert visits the ashram at the suggestion of her young boyfriend, David, not due to her own spiritual devotion; what was originally a symbol of self-reliance becomes in the movie another example of a woman doing something because a man encouraged her to.
The final section in Bali is the most traditional-- a woman travels to an exotic location, meets an exotically handsome man (Javier Bardem, delectable), falls in love-- and also the best executed, maybe because all the spirituality of India and hedonism of Italy were harder to translate to the screen. Still, as fun as it is to watch Roberts and Bardem roll around in the sheets and marvel at Bali's exquisite beauty, the real-life Gilbert is once again let down. Her romance with Brazilian Felipe is left deliberately uncertain in the book, written by a woman burned by divorce who has just learned to live for herself again. Movie Gilbert says heated but vague things about not needing to love someone else to prove that she loves herself, but just in time for closing shot she's clambering onto a boat with her love and quite literally riding off into the sunset. It's an immense cop-out, but not surprising given the two and a half hours of platitudes and incredibly simple "tough decisions" that have come before it.
Honestly, this would all be fine if it weren't for the gargantuan running time, which is likely to test the patience of even the most devoted guilty pleasure seekers. Yes, it is fun to sit back and marvel at the scenery and the food and Julia Roberts's enduring star power, and you will walk out of the theater and either immediately book a trip to Bali or, the cheaper option, make a beeline for your neighborhood's best pizza place. Eat Pray Love is an effective and frequently satisfying indulgence, but not nearly as much as the book was, and not as much as it could have been with a little more focus and confidence in its own ideas.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend
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A Confederacy of narcissists Roger Ebert August 11, 2010 Tweet Julia Roberts, about to eat or pray. Now streaming on: Powered by JustWatch Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love," unread by me, spent 150 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and is by some accounts a good one.
Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. Rating: PG-13 (Male Rear Nudity|Brief Strong Language|Some Sexual...
Divorced Javier is gorgeous, sexy, emotionally giving. About his ex-wife we are indifferent, incurious, uninterested. She is absent, off the scene, unnamed. That's how Julia likes it, needs it,...
Parents say age 15+ Based on 6 reviews Kids say age 13+ Based on 12 reviews Watch or buy Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Eat Pray Love Movie Review 1:59 Eat Pray Love Official trailer Did we miss something on diversity?
Unlike the original source, Eat Pray Love presents a flawless caricature that's on an idyllic, hiccup-free trip in a world full of kind people who are happy to be at the mercy of this lost...
San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle overall positively reviewed the film and praised Murphy's "sensitive and tasteful direction" as it "finds way to illuminate and amplify Gilbert's thoughts and emotions, which are central to the story". 
They exist. Why shouldn't movies be made about them? Thus, hating Eat Pray Love is an act of self-hatred, each splenetic tirade directed at the soft-focus screen a lash of the cat 'o nine...
'It Ain't Over' 'The Starling Girl' 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' Advertisement Movie Review | 'Eat Pray Love' Globe-Trotting and Soul-Searching Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts in...
Jennie Punter. Running more than two hours - a very long time for an adaptation of a book without a plot - Eat Pray Love is like an overstuffed lightweight suitcase, with little room for us to feel the emotional connections Liz makes with new friends along the way. Read full review. 50.
By Kirk Honeycutt October 14, 2010 9:59pm In " Eat Pray Love ," Julia Robert's character, Liz Gilbert, takes a holiday from her miserable life as a well-respected, financially secure New York...
Free-thinking, never-been-to-me writer Liz, (Julia Roberts) decides to escape the rat race and her well-meaning but smothering husband to, of course, find her true self by travelling to Italy, India and Bali, as you would and experiencing real life in the process. We all should have her problems.
Scott Tobias The Elephant Brief: Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love, the story of one woman's unexamined first-world privilege -- er, that is, her soul-searching trip...
STARRING Julia Roberts, Viola Davis, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup DIRECTED BY Ryan Murphy SCREENPLAY Jennifer Salt, Ryan Murphy based upon book by Elizabeth Gilbert MPAA RATING Rated PG-13 RUNNING TIME 133 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY Columbia Pictures DVD EXTRAS Ryan Murphy's Journey with Eat Pray Love "Eat Pray Love" Review
01-15-2023 Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling memoir, Julia Roberts' new movie Eat Pray Love chronicles a "rediscovering self" journey around the world. As expected, the film follows Gilbert's exploration of exotic cultures and Eastern religions. Foul language and nudity push what could be a PG-rated movie to PG-13 status.
Start your free trial to watch Eat Pray Love and other popular TV shows and movies including new releases, classics, Hulu Originals, and more. It's all on Hulu. ... About this Movie. Eat Pray Love. A writer travels the world to reconnect with her inner self. Starring: Julia Roberts James Franco Javier Bardem Richard Jenkins Viola Davis.
RATING: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity. GENRE: Drama, Adaptation RELEASE: August 13, 2010 STARRING: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem DIRECTOR: Ryan Murphy DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment Please Note
All these impulses characterize Elizabeth Gilbert's wildly successful spiritual memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which was published in 2006, endorsed by Oprah's Book Club, and spent three years on The New York Times bestseller list. Now Ryan Murphy ( Running with Scizzors and TV's Glee) has directed a sensuous and emotionally cathartic screen version ...
IMDb RATING 5.8 /10 101K YOUR RATING Rate POPULARITY 1,947 287 Play trailer 2:34 17 Videos 99+ Photos Biography Drama Romance A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself". Director Ryan Murphy
3.0/5 Critic's Rating 0/5 Rate Movie Share Synopsis The film manages to carry you through its cross-country journey, peppered with scenic locales and attention-grabbing characters, the credit for which goes to Julia Roberts. Cast & Crew Ryan Murphy Director Julia Roberts Actor Javier Bardem Actor Billy Crudup Actor James Franco Actor
"Eat, Pray, Love" is built on the notion of a woman trying to heal herself from a severe emotional and spiritual crisis; Gilbert suggests more than once that she was at risk for suicide. But...
For all the things Eat Pray Love does right, it must constantly overcome its cardinal sin of turning a quick little book into a bloated monster of a movie. Eat Pray Love is nearly two and a half hours