In Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Those who will take the time to go out of their way to see Eat Pray Love are likely the only people who will actually enjoy the film’s monotonous pace and abrupt changes of mood.

If you’re not one for deep, drawn-out searches for inner discoveries, Ryan Murphy’s depiction of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling tale of her worldwide trip is not for you.

The film is visually stunning, mostly the result of Gilbert’s trips to Italy, India and Indonesia in an attempt to discover herself after a broken marriage and a life of dependency upon men and love.

Along with beautiful Bali, the two other destinations on Liz Gilbert’s (Julia Roberts) path to self-discovery contain distinct moods and despite being adequately portrayed as separate components of Liz’s learning and growth, they are often disjointed.

The indulgence of Italy gives way very abruptly to the quiet of the ashram, and India’s tranquility grinds to a halt when Liz finds love in Bali.

These are transitions made much smoother on a page than on the screen.

Despite her formidable performance, the depth of her character does not resonate on-screen and often leaves the audience questioning what truth there is to Liz’s inner journey.

Roberts is aided by an impressive supporting cast of characters like Liz’s young love David Piccolo (James Franco), who was given a larger role than in Gilbert’s original story. But let’s face it – giving Franco more face time is never a bad decision.

Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins) and Felipe (Javier Bardem), also put on stellar performances that bring out some of the depth in Liz’s character that Roberts could not have conveyed alone.

The suggestion to love oneself is an uplifting message, though the film’s plot does lag in certain sequences, Roberts’ performance makes for an entertaining watch if you’re into uplifting true Hollywood journeys of self-discovery that culminate in happy endings.

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