Eat, Pray, Love: Review

21 October 2010

Written by: Meghan Lodwick

Eat, Pray, Love the movie is based on the 2006 novel by Elizabeth Gilbert of the same name. It’s a story about a woman who, on the surface, has it all: a loving husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup), beautiful home, success and for the most part, Liz and her husband seem happy.

So when Liz makes a decision to abandon this life and break Stephen’s heart, I couldn’t help but feel a little judgmental.  But as she embarks upon the adventure of a lifetime, I found myself completely swept away by her courage and confusion. 

What begins as a lost and lonely middle-aged woman acting like an 18 year old becomes a story of feminine power.  Julia Robert’s conviction as Liz is so persuasive it had me traveling with her. 

Gilbert spent four months in Italy and becomes bilingual while indulging in the notoriously, sinful authentic Italian cooking.  The only part that left me dismayed was Liz referring to a ‘muffin top’ that she clearly doesn’t have.

The serenity of Italy gives way to the chaos of India, but it is refreshing to see the beauty of the country revealed in a way that is not the tourist stereotype. Scenes of the Taj Mahal were mercifully left out.  Instead, director Ryan Murphy (Running with Scissors) takes us through the streets of Delhi to an Ashram where Liz learns to find herself through a combination of meditation and interaction with other previously lost souls. 

This leads to Bali, where Liz finally confronts herself and says no to the temptations of fickle young men.  The biggest disappointment is here, when Liz ‘completes’ her self-discovery and falls in love yet again with a man. 

It seems to contradict the overall moral of the story, even if it is a man like Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) who oozes sex appeal and had every woman in the audience eating out of his seductive Brazilian hand. 

Didn’t Liz leave love behind to truly find herself?  Or is the point that to truly find and love yourself, you have to allow yourself to find and love others?         

Completed with a dazzling array of international landscape, Eat, Pray, Love had me at ‘Hello’.  Liz Gilbert’s bravery and commitment to life is inspiring. 

The plot, though a little on the long side, is enriched by engaging and gratifying characters and the sense of urgency that can only come through a desire to learn and achieve ones own potential. 

Liz is confronted by an assortment of domesticated women who spend most of the movie urging her to find a husband.  Ultimately, though, she enjoys life through good food, great company and plenty of laughter. Watch it, read it, love it.

Corina Thorose is completing a Graduate Diploma of Journalism at La Trobe University.