I’ve never read the 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by American author Elizabeth Gilbert, but the new film adaption starring Julia Roberts had several of my friends — who HAVE read and enjoyed the book — very excited. So I decided to be a good sport and go check out the movie with them.
In general, I’ll say that I enjoyed the movie. I can’t speak to its merits compared to the book, but as a newcomer to Eat, Pray, Love, I was pleased.
If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a quick rundown: a thirtysomething year-old writer realized she’s unhappy in her marriage, divorces her husband against his wishes, and leaves the U.S. for a year to find herself. She spends four months in Italy (the “Eat” segment) then heads to India for four months of meditation and soul-searching (“Pray”) and finally ends up in Bali, where she tries to put the pieces of her life and heart together (“Love”.)
There was nothing especially shocking in the series of events in Elizabeth Gilbert’s story. Many pieces are somewhat predictable, but it was funny and charming and heartwarming in all the right places. The four main locations in the film — America, Italy, India, and Bali — frequently seem very disconnected from one another, as if they could’ve been entirely separate stories tied together by a common lead character.
Having said that, I’m pleasantly surprised that Columbia Pictures didn’t try to cash in on trilogy mania by spreading Eat, Pray, Love out into multiple films.
The scenery is beautiful, and the acting is pretty solid throughout. The biggest success of this film, though, is probably what made the book so powerful for so many: the philosophical (and for some, spiritual) quest for inner peace and happiness brings with it a lot of questions, and the audience (or reader) is quite likely to walk away with some personal pondering to do.
As for me, I’ve spent the day stewing on the themes of the story. Questions are buzzing around in my head about why and how I seek happiness in different aspects of my life. What role do various people play in my life, and in my view of the world around me? How out-of-balance should one be in love to support balance in life? Can a person be “spiritual” without being “religious” in the process?
And of course, how much of a “muffin top” over your jeans really is acceptable?
Other reviewers have eviscerated the film adaption of Eat, Pray, Love, but I enjoyed it. Beyond just a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, I found it thought-provoking and challenging. Take a chance, see the movie, and let me know what you think in a reply below.