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|Index||265 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I felt self conscious and embarrassed somehow. Is this the model woman we should be inspired by? Oh my God! She's like a bad replica of a mediocre man. She abandons her husband and he's the one, quite rightly, who feels betrayed. She uses James Franco and then throws him away. Keeps Richard Jenkins at arms length until she discovers he has something that may be useful to her and then, Javier Bardem...She shouts at him I don't have to love you to love myself. What? She reeks of an awful case of selfishness but as she is played by Julia Roberts the whole thing becomes rather confusing. Is she a modern heroine? Oh God, I hope that wasn't the intention. I felt as far away from her even further away from the character she played in "My Best Friend's Wedding" Remember that one? In that one she becomes a criminal, really, yes, a criminal, to ruin her friend's wedding. Oblivious to the fact that's he's clearly happy with Cameron Diaz. No, she's only worried about herself. I'm giving "Eat Pray Love" a 3 and not a 1 because some landscapes, geographic as well as culinary are, quite simply, breath taking. Also Javier Bardem is worth the price of the very expensive ticket.
I love travelogues and I'm a fan of Julia Roberts but, what happened here? I'm not sure in what period, time wise, it this set. The only turmoil seems to be in this very selfish forty-something. What about the rest of the world? She goes for a sort of journey of discovery in a world that doesn't really exist. Did I miss something? No wars, no economic crisis, no nothing, only the intimate qualm of a woman who I, personally, cannot feel represented by. I grant you I'm from another generation but, please! What is this. I loved the food and Javier Bardem and it is in fact the Bardem episode that brings some kind of recognizable something to the proceedings. So, let me recapitulate and ask you if we've seen the same movie...A woman facing an existential crisis and moves out from her marital abode without even having a discussion about it with her husband - a scrumptious Billy Crudup - then she has an affair with James Franco - who wouldn't, right? - but the Franco in this movie is just a plain reflection of the Franco from "Milk" just to name one title. The Naples presented here seems out of the mind of someone who's never been to Naples. I don't know what to say. I'm a bit puzzled and, I should confess, a bit annoyed.
I loved the book. I thought Julia Roberts as Liz was fantastic casting.
The trailer looked awesome. I smiled every time I saw it. Turns out, I
loved everything about this movie except the movie.
Long story short, it's all of the arc of the book, without any of the passion. While never horrible, this film simply made me feel nothing.
I found the book soulful, moving, even transformative at times. The greatest emotion I felt from the film was hunger (for Italian pizza), thirst (for Italian wine), and an occasional dizziness due to director Ryan Murphy's apparent recent discovery of how to "pan." It was laughable camera-work throughout the first 45 minutes, and occasionally throughout.
The first 1/2 hour of the film was almost unbearably bad, even though the first section of the book was amongst my favorites. Perhaps someone who did not read the book could enjoy this movie, but I somehow doubt it. One time Liz made a joke, that was a nice break from the feeling of being in a lukewarm bathtub for 2 1/2 hours. Not unpleasant, just meh.
Instead of finding Liz intelligent and thoughtful, she seemed selfish, boring, and obsessed with men. Instead of finding spirituality, she seemed vapid. When the character becomes shallow, a film centered around that character becomes a throw away. Maybe I'll just watch the trailer again.
Never read the book and thanks to this well-produced wretched film
never will. The IMDb synopsis is inaccurate... you get no sense this
broad is trying to have a kid or that her marriage has been failing.
She one day decides she doesn't want it anymore and, props to the
acting of Crudup, the husband has no reason to know why. Her subsequent
lover is left with the same "huh?" moment. It's as if she needs to
punish anyone who treats her well.
Only good looking men fall in love with Liz, and everyone admires her. She dumps her lovers and husband and the only friend that will tell her what she needs to hear, in the belief that "balance" lies so far outside herself that she has to travel the world (on a very tight schedule) to seek enlightenment. How she pays for it is never hinted at. And to have this bone-thin creature lecture another bone-thin creature on the need to "just enjoy eating, we can always buy a bigger pair of jeans" is insulting AND laughable. That the scene is followed by two bone-thin actresses faking attempts to "squeeze into" jeans is just insulting.
And the punch line? The woman who has wasted 2.5 hours of your life whining that everyone around her says she needs a man finally finds "balance"... by finding a man. And FYI EVERY man in this film is sensitive and caring. I have to say that the direction and very good supportive acting presents an effective image of all sorts of energetic life going on around Liz (and inviting her to be part of it) while she sits whining to herself in voice-over. But the unreality of EVERYONE LOVING HER is just a bit lame.
Fiction? Not much.
Oh, and why did I spend money to see this? A friend convinced me it would be great, and she is such a good friend and enjoyed it so much I will never tell her exactly how much I despised it. See? For people you care about sometimes you hold yourself back.
FYI Richard Jenkins is the only person Julia Roberts' Liz really connects to... and even that is ruined by a last-minute "Hollywood" moment. No spoiler here, you'll see it lumbering toward you like an elephant in the desert.
When I read the book last year, I had just lost my job, was looking for a new one and eating everything that was bad for me, so I enjoyed Liz's misery and newfound joys. But now that I'm content, in this new phase of life, I find myself annoyed by people who create their own drama and then whine about it. So I would not have enjoyed the book if I were to read it now. Although everyone does a good job in this film, and the scenery is breathtaking -- now I want to go to Rome!!!-- I really couldn't stand Liz. She has everything but whines about how "I don't even know how to be HERE!" I meet people in my new job who are fighting cancer every day -- they deserve the opportunity to whine (and few do, I might add). But pretty people who have everything and think they deserve more just tick me off. And it was a long painful sit. I do love the men in this movie -- each one of them is so good. And Julia Roberts does what she can with this selfish character. I just don't want to spend any more time with spoiled Liz. The time I spent watching her only ticked me off. I cannot recommend it, unless you're self centered, indulged and rich -- this could be your inspiration. Phoo!
I did read the book but, I had hoped that this was going to be like "The Bridges Of Madison County". The film so much better than the book thanks to Meryl Streep's Francesca, a woman I could follow and learn from in every way. Here, my hero, Julia Roberts is as static as the page that originated her character. I couldn't and wouldn't get interested in her. Women, no matter how independent, remain nurturers by nature. I was desolate. I sided with her husband, Billy Crudup, totally. And what about the younger guy, James Franco, she takes instead of giving and she also takes from Richard Jenkins and Javier Bardem in Bali. It is in fact in Bali where I detected a glimpse of real emotion an emotion provoked by somebody else's feelings. I could see a film about that woman. Julia feels detached, as if she was just going through the motions. I'm sorry critics and public ganged up against her for her work in "Mery Reilly" An actress of Julia's talent and beauty could have contributed a sensational gallery of different women. Instead she seems stacked in this shrill, angry lady with very little to say.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
But this is easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. However,
there are some (very small) silver linings.
For instance, with Julia Roberts, Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup, James Franco, and Javier Bardem, I had high expectations. I award one half star for each actor, and round up out of kindness.
But then... the movie started, and the most agonizing 2+ hours of my life ensued.
First, some background information. I went to see Eat Pray Love for my dear mother and free popcorn. She asked me earlier today, and I, being the loving son, agreed to accompany her.
Within ten minutes I had realized what a disastrous mistake I had made. I am an empathetic person, and I had no idea it was possible for a film to give me have no feelings whatsoever for protagonist.
That is not true, at times I wanted her to be hit by a train. I have never left a movie that I had paid for, but eventually my mother and I were plotting ways to escape. We settled on screaming "Mouse!" or "Rodent!" or "Fire!" but decided it was not worth the social awkwardness.
Instead we sat through, as I said, the most agonizing 2+ hours of film, ever. A summary ensues...
Whine-Whine-Divorce-Whine-Cry-Travel-Whine-Eat-Whine-Feminist Bullshit-Whine-Elevate Importance-Whine-Whine-Travel-Whine-Attempt Meditation-Whine-Get Better at Meditation with help of Hippie-Whine-Elevate Importance to Unknown Levels-Whine-Whine-Travel-Whine-Whine-"Fall in Love" I think that is pretty much it. Do not see this film.
If you've kept up with my reviews (lets pretend you have), you are
going to find that the genre I touch most seldom is the romantic
comedy. They are by nature a contagious quagmire of failed puns, roads
repaved with familiar plots, and their stars have signed with the
devil. Enter Julia Roberts, queen of the romcom. No doubt a talented
actress, if not the most famous of her generation, Julia has played a
big role in cashing in on the average woman's dream.
In her latest effort Julia plays Liz Gilbert in the autobiographical book turned movie Eat Pray Love. Liz is a writer visiting Bali in search of a wise/toothless medicine man. He reads the palm of her hand and she takes everything to gospel. Leaving behind husband Stephen (Billy Crudup), Liz seeks out new adventure in the form of exotic cuisine, Eastern religion, and male suitors.
Eat Pray Love is directed by Ryan Murphy. Murphy is best known as the creator of Glee, last year's breakout TV show about misfits who triumph through song. With his name in the mix people are going to be disappointed that Julia and friends don't break out into song and dance. Even if you consider that Murphy could have interests outside of musicals, you'd expect some sassy dialog exchanges like those seen on the show between the characters Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester. Hate to disappoint you but that's not going to happen either.
Julia Roberts is a darling despite the degrading material and I'm sure the draw of her chowing down will appeal to the target demographic until they realize that phase is left behind once Liz leaves Italy. If this were the story of a woman looking for the best things in life, I wouldn't take as much issue as I do. See, that's how one half of the population would view the plot. I see it more along the lines of a typical entry in the long catalog of films where the female lead has no idea what she's looking for in her life so she does whatever is irrational and fun because that's how movie magic works. Liz throws out a man who has given the viewer no reason for dismissal, but this is standard procedure in a chick flick because here woman can do anything and their lives will always improve. I've encountered far too many girls who take these plots to heart and implement them in the real world, leaving a trail of confused men in their wake. I'm a guy, and I'm not dumb enough to think that all the explosions I see in the films designed for my gender need to be realized at home.
What Eat Pray Love has going for it is a borderline competency that lifts it slightly above film festival rejects. Actually the presence of A-list talent and obvious travel expenses add more to the production value than any cinematic technique on display. Many scenes are littered with mishandled lights, resulting in a glaucoma simulation that gave me a headache. It's even a tossup as to whether or not to anoint the audio as clear since half of Javier Bardem's dialog would be read as inaudible should one rent the Blu-ray down the road and turn on subtitles. Speaking of Bardem, his character's late appearance goes against every screen writing rule. In fact, it felt like I was two hours into Eat Pray Love before I started to question whether or not I had seen him in the TV spots.
There is so little of consequence taking place that I don't understand why this is a movie. Plenty of books have plots that don't equate into a two-hour film and many of those actually have tension. Liz's only conflict is from her own sociopath concepts. She's established early on as a poor playwright, highly gullible, and dare I say spoiled. These are not desirable traits. It's amazing how easily everyone accepts Liz. Italy, India, and Indonesia extend nothing but open arms and everyone who she turns to for advise is essentially the same character with the one exception being Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins)the sole character that doesn't seem to exist for Liz's personal amusement. I haven't seen such a patronizing, boring, alleged comedy in years. Eat Pray Love is a marathon that will surely test any burgeoning relationship and possibly cause a divorce. Girls, if your male friend can stomach this you've either found an idiot or a liar. Pray for mercy.
Two moments have stayed with me, one in particular: Javier Bardem crying as he says goodbye to his 19 year old son. The moment provokes a reaction on Julia Roberts's character that makes her totally human. The moment comes on the last third of the film so I thought it was a bit too late to start my relationship with her. The other moment happens at the beginning after she decides to walk away from her marriage and realizes she has broken her husband's heart. Terrific Billy Crudup fighting back tears as the elevator door closes. I love Julia Roberts but I can't quite buy her "philosophical face" 42 years of age in the new millennium is far too young for that kind of crisis, specially when the crisis is provoked by something missing in her. So, okay, a journey of discovery, but then...? The discovery is that she knew it all along. What next. I must say the guys in the movie get the prize, third price really. The first price goes to the location, second price to the food - goodness, the food! - and third to the guys. Bardem fantastic, Richard Jenkins superb - Billy Crudup surprisingly real, James Franco also great and Luca Argentero another plus.
Most people I know are going to see this film for Julia Roberts. It is that mysterious link that film stars create with their audiences. We develop a sort of craving to see them again. So a new Julia Roberts movie? Sure. Absolutely. I'm only a few years younger than Julia Roberts which means we have grown together. So, to see her play a woman facing a sort of middle age crisis makes you look inwards with a smile, the nervous kind. I must also say I'm a guy, heterosexual, but not fanatically so. I don't have the fears that, Jay Leno for instance, shows, when confronted by a "chick flick" If anything "Eat Pray Love" proves that men and women are not that far apart, we simply deal with the same problems in different ways. Here, the filmmakers don't shy away from the conflict and the balance is real. Julia's husband, played beautifully by Billy Crudup, accuses her of leaving the marriage without an explanation. He is the one with the broken heart. In Italy, Julia eats and our own gastric juices start to do their thing. I glanced at my watch, I was ready to run into the nearest Italian restaurant and have a relationship with a pizza myself. Italy, Rome and even Naples look so clean that I hardly recognized it. CGI? Luca Argentero plays Julia's tutor/tourist guide. He is a good looking guy that after appearing in the Italian version of the Big Brother reality show, he became a sort of local movie star and shows promising acting chops. Here, strangely enough, he looks small but charming all the same. India brings the wonderful Richard Jenkins and a solid piece of advise: "don't give up on love" Bali, well, Bali is something else and it is there that Javier Bardem comes into the picture and provides us with the best scene in the film. I'm not going to tell you what it is but let me just say that involves his son and gives us, finally, a side of Julia we didn't know how much we missed. Empathy. Feeling something for somebody else's feelings. I think I may see the film a second time just to see that scene again. I also should mention that James Franco plays a young actor - not what I call a stretch - considering he is my favorite of the young actors around. I will challenge other members of my sex to go and see it. Not to be afraid to feel identified or even chocked up. I can assure you it's not going to diminish you manliness in any way and will awake your appetites, big time.
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