Eat Pray Love Directed by: Ryan Murphy Cast: Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem Running Time: 2 hrs 13 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: August 13, 2010
PLOT: Liz (Roberts) decides she needs to find herself, so she leaves behind the people in her life and goes to eat in Italy, pray in India, and love in Bali. Based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert.
WHO'S IT FOR? Want to watch Julia Roberts show you around the world? Otherwise, you need to be a woman who feels she needs to "find" herself. Having your own issues is key coming into this movie.
EXPECTATIONS: I was a little worried I would be watching a rich person have a rich person's problem. Historically though, Roberts and Javier Bardem always deliver.
Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert: The big problem with this film comes in the beginning when we are getting to know Liz. On the surface and even underneath the surface, it seems her problems aren't that significant. Yes, she may not be in love with Stephen (Crudup), but has she worked on the relationship with him? Roberts' signature laugh is present and her gorgeous inviting smile is present. What I find in short supply with this role is Roberts typical female empowerment and passion. I never felt I was on her journey, just a journey. Score: 6
Billy Crudup as Stephen: Stephen is Liz's husband. They fall apart and it's tough to not feel for Stephen during this period. We see that he doesn't stay committed to jobs, but he thinks he is committed to her. His plea at the divorce proceedings is the highlight of the film and makes the most logical sense. Score: 7
James Franco as David Piccolo: He's pretty. He makes Liz weak in the knees. It's almost like the movie didn't have time to show this was more than a fling. David doesn't ever leave a lasting impression that leaves you wanting more. Score: 4
Hadi Subiyanto as Ketut Liyer: Anybody who only has a couple of teeth and an endearing smile is A-OK in my book. He's a cute old man who supposedly offers great wisdom to Liz. I say supposedly because we never really see it. Score: 6
Javier Bardem as Felipe: Watching the film, I really had no idea if Liz and Felipe were right for each other. I don't think that was the point the film was trying to showcase; I think it was more of a mistake. When Felipe is sharing and almost throwing his love at Liz, it seems more out of desperation. Score: 5
TALKING: It's a little repetitive. That's what self-help and finding yourself is all about. I just felt the idea of Liz finding herself really came down to rewording that concept about a hundred different ways. Also, the voice over from Roberts is used way too much. There aren't amazing, life-changing words involved. Like most voice-overs and narrations, it's overdone. My favorite line is when her friend (Viola Davis) compares having babies to getting a tattoo on your face. Score: 4
SIGHTS: It's beautiful. Rome, India and Bali are beautiful. It's always difficult to score this because if you're given a decent budget and have a decent cinematographer then it should be solid, right? The way the movie is filmed doesn't bring anything dramatic to life. More importantly, I love to travel and I only felt there was a few times (like when Liz sat in the ruins in Rome) that I wanted to be there. Score: 5
SOUNDS: Two Neil Young songs. That's surprising, right? There's beauty to the musical score. Felipe brings up some artists like Phil Collins, but a key time for Liz and Felipe to finally get romantic simply has a sweet song. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: Stephen decides to represent himself during the divorce hearing with Liz. In my book, he won. I wanted to give him another chance. If the film's goal was for us to be excited about Liz's adventure, then this scene shouldn't exist because it puts him on top.
ENDING: So, correct me if I'm wrong ... Liz has passion in her when she says "I don't need to love you in order to love myself." It's a bit of a shame that these changes aren't a talk with her spiritual adviser.
QUESTIONS: There's only one really big question here: why am I supposed to care?
REWATCHABILITY: Way too long. When you realize eating, praying and loving each take up at least 30 minutes each ... you realize there is a lot of movie to take in here.
I saw it. I didn't feel it. Look, I'm happy for Julia Roberts to go on this journey and find herself. I didn't feel for her. I didn't hope for her. If you see this movie and think to yourself, "Jeff Bayer is crazy, I cried, laughed and loved." Here's my guess why ... You love Julia Roberts no matter what.
Self-exploration is personal. Watching Liz go through it takes too long. Remember Meryl Streep in It's Complicated? It wasn't. It was just a rich person complaining. This is close to that, but not as bad. Again, sit down and watch Roberts travel. If you're after more, you won't find it with Eat Pray Love.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10