Liz Gilbert had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having -- a husband, a house, a successful career -- yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali.
Genres: Drama and Adaptation Running Time: 2 hr 13 min Release Date: August 13th, 2010 (wide) MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity. Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Cast And Credits
Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup
Brad Pitt, Stanley J. Wlodkowski, Jeremy Kleiner
The double standard in Hollywood may be stronger than ever. Men are free to pursue all kinds of adventures, while women are expected to pursue men. In a typical big-studio romantic comedy the heroine’s professional ambition may not always be an insurmountable obstacle to matrimony, but her true fulfillment — not just her presumed happiness but also the completion of her identity — will come only at the altar.
OverviewTickets & ShowtimesNew York Times ReviewCast, Credits & AwardsReaders' Reviews Trailers & Clips
This paradigm is, of course, much older than the movies, but it can be refreshing, now and then, to see something different in the multiplex: a movie that takes seriously (or for that matter has fun with) a woman’s autonomy, her creativity, her desire for something other than a mate.
The scarcity of such stories helps explain the appeal of movies like the two “Sex and the City” features, “Julie & Julia,” “The Blind Side” and now “Eat Pray Love,” a sumptuous and leisurely adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir of post-divorce globe-trotting. Directed by Ryan Murphy, who wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Salt, the film offers an easygoing and generous blend of wish fulfillment, vicarious luxury, wry humor and spiritual uplift, with a star, Julia Roberts, who elicits both envy and empathy.
Playing a woman whose natural self-confidence is dented by disappointment and threatened by remorse, Ms. Roberts dims her glamour without snuffing it out altogether, as she tried to do in Mike Nichols’s unfortunate “Closer.” Her Liz Gilbert can be radiant and witty, and rarely doubts her essential attractiveness, but she also suffers uncertainty, ambivalence and real anguish. The end of her marriage — to a kind, weak-willed oddball played by Billy Crudup — is wrenching before it has a chance to be fully liberating. And her rebound relationship, with a soulful younger actor (James Franco), only exacerbates Liz’s sense that she is drifting away from herself.
This may strike you as an abstract problem, and one that depends, for both its articulation and its proposed solution, on a high degree of material security and social entitlement. So many people in this world confront much graver threats to their well-being: violence, poverty, oppression. This woman has nothing but good luck! True enough, but the kind of class consciousness that would blame Liz for feeling bad about her life and then taking a year abroad to cure what ails her strikes me as a bit disingenuous — a way of trivializing her trouble on the grounds of gender without having to come out and say so.
What “Eat Pray Love” has — what the superficial “Sex and the City 2” notably lacked — is a sense of authenticity. Whether you decide to like Liz, and whether you approve of her choices and the expectations she has set for herself, it is hard not to be impressed by her honesty. The same can be said for Ms. Gilbert (to distinguish between the author and narrator of the book and the character she becomes when impersonated by Ms. Roberts). And the screenwriters, copiously sprinkling the author’s supple, genial prose into dialogue and voice-over, maintain a clear sense of her major theme. As the movie meanders through beautiful locations, grazing on scenery, flowers and food, it keeps circling back to the essential tension between Liz’s longing for independence and her desire to be loved.