Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love

It was with great anticipation that I went to see this film. Not particularly due to the content, but more to see the luminous Julia Roberts back on the silverscreen. What a joy to see this fabulous actor. It was not a joy to see the film, however. The story, incase you haven't been on the planet, is about a woman unhappy with her lot, who decides she deserves more from life. Away she flies, to eat in Italy, pray in India and love in Bali. Surprise surprise, by the end of the film, she has discovered her 'authentic self'. What a journey into the land of self indulgence this is. First she leaves a husband, who whilst a little flighty, is lovely and loves her. Fair enough, dump him love, we all make mistakes. So then she falls for the adorable James Franco, an off off Broadway actor that she meets whilst he is, wait for it, performing in a play that the egotistical Ms Gilbert has written. In this play, she describes how the female character morphs into each boyfriend of the moment. It is then bizarre to witness her self realisation that she has indeed morphed into James Franco during their relationship. She seems so into her very being that I thought she'd be more self aware than that. So after much handwringing, off we go, leaving a dumbfounded friend (Viola Davis) and angst ridden Mr Franco a mere memory. Elizabeth's Italian adventure goes swimmingly. The food is mouthwatering and everyone thinks she is bellisima. Italy is beautifully shot, and her friends are both beautiful and witty of course, to match her. Then across to India, where she changes to a suitably hippy if rather stylish wardrobe to suit the backdrop. Here is where the self indulgance factor goes off the chart. Lots of praying and meditation, meeting new people (one of which is the ever wonderful Richard Jenkins) and once again changing everyone she meets for the better, even a rogue elephant picks out unique aura. Next to Bali, and another new season's garments. There are almost as many costume changes as Sex and the City 1 & 2 combined! She has a great time, meets many people, changes lives again; builds a house for a parasytical friend and meets the man of her dreams (Javier Bardem). At this point you feel like screaming out to him "Run Javier, run for your life!" There are ups and downs in this relationship and just when you think it's all going ok and Javier makes a grand gesture, poor little Elizabeth throws a hissy fit and almost ruins everything. In the end, she knows a daft sucker when she sees one and decides he's worth the commitment afterall. Lucky lucky man.
The script is so thick with self satisfied smugness, the neverending naval gazing is exhausting. The worst scene is when our heroine is lying prostrate on the floor stating that she doesn't know how to 'be'. Come around to any house around 5pm on a school night. Then attempt to cook tea, walk the dogs, shower kids, ensure homework is completed and remain cheerful whilst working full time. I and millions of other women around the world will show you how to 'be' Ms Gilbert. The film is in danger of disappearing to a location where the sun does not shine, ever.
Are there any redeeming factors? The scenery is breathtaking. The acting as you would expect from a cast of this calibre. It's a testament to Ms Roberts that you still like her as an actress at the end of this homage to self. That's about all the nice things I can say about this one I'm afraid folks. I have no idea what Ms Gilbert is like in real life. The book never appealed to me, neither did the film as it turns out. The impression one gets is not good. The book was a best-seller so obviously plenty of people found her shenanigans profound and interesting. Still, it's nice to see Pretty Woman back.
Eat Pray Love: Me Me Me. 2/10

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Esther, another great review. I may rent it just for the scenery and Julia and not for the story of Ms. Gilbert's shallow self-discovery.