Eat Pray Love - Movie Review

4:51 AM Shanky 3 Comments

If you want to wager with me and win, here is the secret: Show me a Julia Roberts movie and challenge me not to fall in love with her acting/character. You can even extort my entire salary at times! She is so good at what she does. Be it the struggling mother and activist in Erin Brockovich or the high flying actress in Notting Hill or the distressed lady in Eat Pray Love, Julia does it supremely well. The movie based on a book by the same name revovles around her and is another Julia Roberts treat for her fans. But is it enough for others?

Elizabeth (Liz), played by Julia Roberts, is a professionally successful PR who is struggling with her personal life. When shit happens and hits the fan, she decides to travel and travel in style. She decides a theme for her travel, Lonely Planet/Globe Trotter style - Eat. Pray. Love. The movie follows Liz in her glorious journey to rediscover herself through new experiences and learns to fall in love again. Of course she did not know what will happen during her journey and she ends her journey with a new born belief in "connecting the dots in your life" theory. 

Peeping into her past gives us a few hints to how she chooses her travel destinations. Even without the flashback or the hints the choice of her destinations is not surprising. Liz chooses to eat in Italy, pray in India and love in Bali. The choices were quite apt/obvious considering the reputation for the these places in the US where the protagonist lives. She starts in Italy where she befriends a few locals and a swedish girl. The Italy that the movie portrays is the place of dream for anyone! Beautiful Roman buildings, street side bistros and mouth watering pizzas! The concept of crossing over explained through a single beautiful sounding word "attraversiamo" is excellent! But my favourite part about Italy is the one where they explain how to learn Italian! The series of visuals that describes the so called "Body language" of Italian language and the music that accompanies will definitely put a smile on your face. 

The movie then follows Liz into one of the most vibrant countries, India, to pray and seek some serious inner peace. You would naturally expect a riot of colors, festivities to be interlaced with the whole inner peace thing. You are in for some disappointing portrayal of India!This part of the movie is the most dullest. They never really show any part of India. Almost the entire part is shot indoors in some god forsaken Ashram. Nothing much to write about except for the realization of balance that Julia attains through her recitation of Gita and meditation. There is also this old man who joins Julia in a quest to get a new life at the Ashram. I could not see any chemistry or friendship between the two and he overacts in his last scene as far as I can say. Perhaps, this is what the real Elizabeth experienced and hence is best for the movie. Perhaps, this is the best part for a few troubled souls. But I did not watch this movie to get any gyaan and I was not happy with this part. I usually do reruns of my favourite movies or parts of movies and whenever I do a rerun of this movie, I am sure I will skip this part. By now I was a little bored and paused the movie a few times to refresh facebook and Gmail (hint).

Then comes magical Bali! As Liz's friend in Bali says, "Everyone has a love affair in Bali :-)" It is here that she meets an emotional, good looking, Spanish jewellery exporter by accident (quite literally). Of course, with the Spanish accent, his charm and an exotic, excellent bossa nova version of "S' wonderful" playing in the background Felipe,played by Javier, wins over Liz. Bali, like Italy, is shown in all its glory! The lighting is just great, the colors are vibrant,music is soothing. Perfecto! Bali gets such attention from the director maybe because the whole story starts from Bali. It is here a year ago, when on work, Liz meets a fortune teller (called Ketut) and he predicts that she will return in one year to Bali to teach him English. Also, it is here in Bali that Liz truly rediscovers herself and meets some interesting and wonderful characters - like the divorced traditional Balinese physician. Julia collects & donates a hefty sum to this divorced mother so that she could start a new life. 

Cinematography and music highlights the importance of the events in any movie; more so in a travel based one. Both these aspects are good and this is one of the movies whose background score also sticks in your mind. Not in an Inception kind of way but in a very softer mode. Julia, I will say it again, has done superbly well (Yes I am prejudiced). She beautifully portrays the plight of the protagonist in the scene where she abruptly wakes up from her bed and prays to god with desperation, "Dear God, I know we have not spoken that much. But I need you now. Just tell me what to do and I will do". I am sure all of us have had such moments of desperation when having to make difficult choices and we want someone else to make the decision and make it easier for us. Who better than God to confide to, who lest assured wont divulge your plight to others and make fun of you later! Casting of the supporting actors, whose interactions and interventions can elevate or destroy (as in the case of "No one killed Jessica")the movie experience, has been good in this movie. With the exception of the Old man in Indian Ashram and the divorced physician in Bali I liked everyone else. 

Bottomline - Is it a great movie? No. But its a decent enough movie which can be watched at least once. Will I watch it again - Yes, but without the Indian part :)

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  1. Awesome blog you have :) I would still prefer "If only" though :)
    And Bali rocks for sure. Truly heaven on earth. Been there this spetember.

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  2. So, I watched the movie too (in a theater - so no pauses)...and wondered if someone who hadn't read the book enjoyed it as much :)

    In your review it's not mentioned anywhere, I wasn't sure if you'd read it already. Did/Have you read the book? :)

    As a reader, I know my experience while reading the "Pray" sequence was good...and I liked it. Again, you're right when you say it could have been portrayed better. She obviously is fantastic as always.

  3. You are right, I have not read the book and probably the portrayal did not do justice to the words of the author.

    And why is that all the divorced women go travelling? There is another movie as well - Under the Tuscan sun. Divorced woman travelling and settling in Italy!


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