ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Movies & Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Eat Pray Love

Updated on August 18, 2010

A Movie Miss

One of the reasons that I wanted to watch the movie, Eat Pray Love, was to see how on earth director Ryan Murphy could adapt the very cerebral novel written by Elizabeth Gilbert and capture its depth on the big screen.  Today, I discovered that he didn’t even try. Instead, he just glazed over the mystical aspect of the book and gave viewers the merest taste of an otherwise very meaty story.

 

The focus of the book, Eat Pray Love, is the spiritual growth of its author.  As readers, we see her angst when she admits to herself that she no longer wants to be married—not because she no longer loves her husband, but because she is miserable, even clinically depressed, trying to fit herself into the mold of “wife” and gearing up to do the same as “mother” because her husband so badly wants a child. The movie doesn’t even touch on that.  What we see is a woman who is dissatisfied with her husband’s inability to settle into a career.  His telling her that he wants to go back to school becomes her breaking point.  The spiritual alignment that occurrs  in order for her to finally get the divorce one and one half years later is completely omitted.

 

The Weaknesses

Even in the book, Gilbert’s immersion into the food and language culture of Italy is a bit hard to emotionally connect to, so it was not surprising that Mr. Murphy had to manipulate the facts of that time in her life to make it more meaningful.  The visual effect of seeing the beautiful foods made up for the license he took, but it did not make up for his omitting the difficulty she has fighting depression and her ill-advised decision to go off her meds cold turkey. Thus, her time in Italy was not just the food-fest presented in the movie.

 

The weakest area of the movie for me is the character’s time in the ashram in India. Ms. Gilbert did an excellent job of describing her effort to find God, the difficulty she experienced meditating, connecting to the long, difficult Sanskrit chant, the many friendships she made and her ultimate understanding that the God she sought was inside her and had accepted her as good enough all along.  Though we see scenes that suggest these events, I suppose the depth was too cerebral to capture cinematically.

 

My beef with the Bali portion of the movie is that it focuses way too much on the love story between Liz and Filipe.  She went to Bali to seek balance, and in doing so, found love.  Anyone who gets the story only through the movie will misperceive how important Bali was to her final understanding of herself and people in general.  Her relationship with Kutut and Wayan went far deeper than it was portrayed on the movie.

 

Flawed Characterizations

As much as I love Julia Roberts as an actress, I did not enjoy her portrayal of the spiritual seeker whose yearlong quest makes her a better person with a new understanding of herself and her relationship with God.  Roberts’ performance seemed one dimensional; viewers do not really see her struggle or her growth.  I did, however, enjoy Hadi Subiyanto’s mildy humorous portrayal of Ketut Liyer, Liz’s Balinese medicine man and the female who played Ketut’s sister in law (a role that was never defined in the movie).  Javier Bardem who plays Felipe, the man to whom Liz finally opens her heart, gets an honorable mention, not because he did not shine in his portrayal of the sensitive Brazilian, but because there did not seem much chemistry between the two lovers. 

The Author's View

In Ms. Gilbert’s interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she confessed that she had not understood the popularity of her book until she saw the movie. I feel the exact opposite. Many people spend their lives seeking something bigger than themselves, and they often find that greatness through the relationships they build that introduce them to selfless service to others. The book speaks to that issue much louder than the movie does. So, though Ms. Gilbert sees Liz’s character as “everyman” in the movie, I see her much more authentically that way in the book. So, on a scale of 1 to 5, I would give the movie Eat Pray Love a 2.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Charlain 7 years ago

      Thanks Jackie! I thought I was the only one not enamoured with the movie. I need to read the book!

    • profile image

      Carol-Lynn 7 years ago

      Sold. I'll buy the book! Thanks, Jackie

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 7 years ago from Central North Carolina

      Great review, Jackie. I think the Fruit of the Loom commercials played before the previews were a 5.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)