Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday Movie Night: Eat Pray Love (2010)

  Julia Roberts stars in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir about coping with a depressing divorce. After deciding to reshape her life, Liz (Roberts) travels the world in search of direction. She heads to Italy, India and Bali, indulging in delicious cuisine while seeking the true meaning of self-love, family, friendship and forgiveness. Along the way, she meets a bevy of characters and, possibly, her true love.
  Recently, I finished reading Eat Pray Love, so the next step seemed to be to watch the movie. I hadn't heard anything good about the movie though, and when I went to check out the book at the library, the librarian even told me the book was good, but the movie was awful.  Regardless, I wanted to watch to see what it was all about. 
  First, I think Julia Roberts was bad casting. For some reason Roberts just isn't relatable in any role, or at least not to me. While reading the book, Gilbert annoys me at times, but for the most I found her journey to be very relatable, and have some learning value, but in the movie Gilbert's journey doesn't shine the same. She just comes off as a rich woman touring through the world to indulge herself.  We can't quite reach the sympathy for Gilbert in the movie that we are able to find for her in the book.  Also, while reading the book I guess I forgot these would be tourist destinations in other countries she visited meaning they would be largely populated by people who were not actual citizens of the country.  I think she lost being exposed to some of the culture in these countries by not hanging out with more people who were citizens of those countries. 
  The movie also cuts out a huge portion of some of the most interesting things that took place in the book, like Wayan and Tutti's story. Once arriving in Bali it was like the movie turned into a complete romance, and though she does find Felipe in Bali, he did not become her only focus while there.  I think because they cut out some of the things involving Wayan we don't see how Gilbert was able to extend her concern, and kindness to the extent she did in the book. We are left with a character much colder, and only concerned about her love life.  Though, she was reluctant about love she didn't appear to abuse Felipe's love as she did in the movie. Plus, the Julia Roberts' voice over for Gilbert's thoughts was just awful. She sounded like she was reading the book directly while trying to speak her thoughts. 
  I know people say movies, and books should be judged separately, but I don't agree especially when someone's life is being portrayed. If you choose to portray a story that has already been told you have the duty of honoring that story. I think some things could have been edited out, and moved around to give greater emphasis on other things needed.  The movie does have beautiful scenery though, and it's shot really well.  This movie had really amazing potential, but it's very difficult to make a story about an independent woman. There is a very fine line between uptightness, and gracefulness that is difficult to get right when telling her story. You can check out the movie at Amazon

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