A woman’s search for life.

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis.

Director: Ryan Murphy.

Genre: Memoir, Biography, Travel literature.

Eat Pray Love is a fascinating adaptation of the memoir book written by Elizabeth Gilbert packed with meaningful, challenging, and thought-provoking moments as a woman travels the world to discover what is essential to her.

Julia Roberts stars as the story’s main character Liz Gilbert, whose life started to fall apart after she divorced her husband. Still whirling from the separation, she falls in love with a young stage actor (James Franco). However, their love dissolves, and Liz starts to question herself and becomes depressed. She needed to get her life back on track. Feeling the need to get her life back on track, she goes on a year-long journey of self-discovery to Italy, India, and Indonesia. 

This movie contains a cast that comes together to create a compelling story. First, Julia Roberts gives an emotional and intense performance in this film and draws us into the moments and inner monologues of Liz Gilbert. Throughout the film, she narrates every thought and feeling, pulling us more into the story. Second, Viola Davis plays Liz’s friend Delia Shiraz. It is hard to analyze Viola Davis and this character because she is only in a couple of scenes towards the beginning. Nonetheless, she gives a compelling performance as the best friend that questions Liz on her motivation to travel. Next, Richard Jenkins plays the role of Richard From Texas. He brings to life the blunt and passionate personality and emotional complications that haunt his character every day. Lastly, Javier Bardem plays the charming and caring Felipe. Felipe has also gone through a divorce and tells about his experience with becoming the main parent in his children’s lives. Javier portrays this part with simplicity and uniqueness. 

As mentioned, Liz (Roberts) embarks on a trip of self-discovery, meeting new friends, and facing new experiences.   For example, when she travels to Italy, she experiences the food and culture.  Another moment that affects Liz is in a scene where Richard From Texas (Jenkins) pulls Liz to the side of a private area and unveils his emotional past and how he came to India.

There were many great reviews and opinions of the book but mixed views of the movie, which some people might expect when a novel adapts into a film. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to read the book, but I researched other’s thoughts and how close the adaptation was to the book. For example, some say the relationship between Liz and Felipe lacked some of their issues in the movie, and Liz’s ex-husband was portrayed differently in the film. However, after researching the book, it seems that the movie is mostly accurate to the book. This movie you can watch without needing to read the book first.

 I did not love the movie Eat Pray Love, but I did not dislike it. If I were to rate it, I would give it an eight out of ten. Some parts of the film that I felt worked and were effective, and some of the editing I felt was a bit choppy in certain areas.

The way this movie went about with the cinematography was interesting and effective. The close-up shots add a vibrance and acute definition. For example, there is a scene in which Liz (Roberts) is learning Italian; this close-up shot is significant because she is learning the language and pronunciations. Another where the cinematography was effective is when Liz drives around in a taxi in India. Many different camera angles were happening simultaneously, which made the scene feel busy, eventually depicting what is going on around her and outside of the car. The tone of the film switches between calm and exciting. In the Italy scenes, there was a lot of liveliness and excitement, but there is a sense of calmness in the Bali and some of the India scenes. Italy achieves a sense of enthusiasm through the vibrance and liveliness of the music and food. In India and Bali achieves calmness through meditation, sound, and the finding of balance.

As I mentioned, the music and sound gave certain feelings of excitement and complimented the ambiance of each location. Most of the music seemed traditional to the country of origin. Whereas towards the beginning, when Liz had not left and was still in New York, the music leaned more to pop and classic rock. The music and sound were very fascinating.

The acting allowed intense emotions to fills some scenes, emotions just happen with little to no build up in some areas, but the scene, and the scenes after continuing with that emotion. There were also moments where the acting seemed natural to the point where you forgot that the people are acting.

The costumes, I have found to be different in each location style-wise. The costumes were loosely fitted with natural-toned colors like brown, white, and green. For the scenes in India, it is noticeable that Liz’s costumes have changed to slightly conform to the normal clothes in that region. I noticed that Richard From Texas’s clothing style has conformed to this as well. One scene in particular, and I will do my best to not give away what happens in this scene, shows what a woman would traditionally wear during a certain ceremony, wearing a vibrant red color outfit (I am not sure what the name of the traditional outfit is called in India) and intricate jewelry.

I researched that a lot of the scenes were shot on location, which made it captivating and fun. Each location had its own uniqueness to it. showing the different cultures, society, and a little bit of agriculture too.

The editing towards the beginning of the movie threw me off a little. As I mentioned, there was a weird cut/transition from the scene where Liz and her ex-husband were in the car and then to them in bed. I felt there were not a lot of build-ups, it just stopped right there. There was another transition scene that I found to be a little awkward was the transition from her leaving David’s (James Franco) apartment and getting into the car with Delia (Davis), to driving on the highway. The transition had a swiping moment which did not do much for effect and should be a little better.

Eat Pray Love is an overall emotionally resonant movie filled with tons of moments that will leave the viewer at the end of the movie in their thoughts, it is filled with a lot of eating, praying, and yes, loving. If you are interested in contemporary movies based on a memoir, or travel movies, then this one is the movie for you.

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