Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eat Pray Love

By s. Thursday, October 13, 2011 , , , , , ,
(133 min, 2010)
Director: Ryan Murphy

Writers: Ryan Murphy (screenplay), Jennifer Salt (screenplay), Elizabeth
Gilbert (book)
Stars: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins

Real problems? Banish!

A married woman (Julia Roberts) realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself".

"Eat Pray Love" is a boring version of "Under the Tuscan Sun" - here, same as in the movie with Diane Lane after emotional turmoil and personal drama a woman leaves everything she knows and starts her journey through strange land. Except this time, the main character is not interesting nor nice enough for the audience to sympathize with her. I never liked Julia Roberts, the only movie she didn't annoy me in was "Notting Hill" and that was probably thanks to how good the movie was, not to her. This time her character is already irritating, so casting Roberts didn't help.

Here is a woman who is successful, has nice husband and then hot lover, yet she still doesn't have enough. I don't have half of that and I'm content. And what about people who are sick, who have actual problems, not a bunch of high school meaningless crap? Well, I guess this is the kind of movie where real problems are forbidden. Roberts makes feeble attempts at acting and her prayer scene has got to be the most embarrassing moment of her career. Surprisingly, her character and performance aren't the biggest fails of the movie - that honor goes to many failed attempts of making the audience laugh, usually involving Liz's ex husband (Billy Crudup, for whom I felt genuinely sorry when he had to say all those pathetic lines).

Fortunetly, the movie has some pluses - we feel as if we were traveling with Liz - there are so many shots in the movie, the cinematography is very good and the director managed to capture the climate of Italy, India and Bali. The music also helps build up relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. If the movie wasn't so boring and its main character so obnoxious it might even be nice experience to watch it. The supporting cast, apart from Crudup is excellent - we have Viola Davis, superb Richard Jenkins and James Franco. And it's kinda amusing to see Javier Bardem, who got famous playing ruthless killer in "No country for old men" getting even more famous playing gentle ladies men. He didn't copy what he did in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" - he took it to another level. He even weeps here. Seeing this wasatruly surreal experience.

"Eat Pray Love" requires its viewers to suspense their belief even stronger than during superhero movies - American tourist visits three foreign countries without knowing the language and doesn't have any unpleasant experiences, mosquito bites and being hit with a car driven by Bardem don't count. She immediately finds friends, balance and love. This is a fairytale.

Also as the movie progresses the choices made by Liz are more and more puzzling - I suspect it only happened for the inevitable inclusion of the biggest cliche of the genre - the ultimate lover's spat and then romantic reunion. With all its flaws the movie is not great, but it's definitely not awful, as many seem to think - it's simply mediocre. It has funny, tender and smart moments. But with better lead it could actually be charming, too.


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