Review: A Chocolate-Faced Opinion of Eat Pray Love

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Eat Pray Love-is it any good?

Ok, it’s probably the most controversial ‘chick flick’ to appear for a long time, but really Eat Pray Love is mild fare. Liz Gilbert the author of the book is no Anais Nin (who hid her banker husband out of sight while she consorted with cousins, fellow writers, fathers, women and whoever she fancied basically) nor is she Erica Jong (who wrote The Zipless F**k about her marriages and affairs and also consorted with whoever she fancied basically)-she is simply a bored and depressed, albeit successful New York writer (Coyote Ugly was based on an article she wrote about bar-tending) who realised she was married to a man she didnt want to be with, nor have his children. The fact that she went off with a handsome actor and left her husband in the lurch, may be a reason to lampoon her, but have you seen the guy ‘David (the actor) ‘ is based on? If the pics of him on this blog are anything to go by who could blame her, when as played by Billy Crudup said husband is a bit of a div, quite frankly. What Im trying to say is ‘big deal’ she got paid to write about her three adventures in Italy, India and Indonesia, which seems to be riling some critics. And big deal she left her husband and didnt go back, when he proved to be a boorish, childish character intent on tying up their divorce for years. I would defend anyone’s right  (rich or poor) to do want they want to in life, regardless of institutions of marriage-or money-which incidentally Gilbert seems to believe is so stifling in American life, and therefore everywhere else. Which prompts the question have we gone backwards regarding womens’ choices?

But, on to the movie-I really liked Eat Pray Love, not for Julia Roberts or Javier Bardem, who plays her true love Felipe,  but for the scenery and yes, the ‘journey’ the Liz Gilbert character goes on. As played by Roberts, she’s a bit of a cold hearted bitch, until she gets to India where she gets taken down a peg or two by a Texan called Richard, who calls her on her bs. It’s nice to see the famous Roberts smile in Bali, and I suddenly thought-‘This is like Runaway Bride‘ (Roberts’ film with Richard Gere) when she rejects Felipe as he gets too heavy. Mainly I was happy, though, that they did get together and the idea that Gilbert actually got some prompt from her soul to travel to far flung places to find her soulmate occurred to me. However, this is where I’d like to point out some differences between the film and reality. The real Felipe  is nothing like Javier Bardem, rather he’s a dumpy, white-haired man, so in reality, if appearances matter, she really traded down.

The David character as played by James Franco is a charming, gorgeous man-fatale as Gilbert calls David in the book, but I thought Franco’s time on screen was bit rushed. As he’s a very busy actor, it seemed the scenes were shot as quickly as possible, which marred his impact. Incidentally, Gilbert writes in EPL that she was obsessed with David, which doesn’t really come across in the film. Rather it seems that he’s obsessed with her- perhaps to pander to Julia’ s ego? The same Julia who told journalists she put on weight for the movie, when she looks like a stick all the way through it-Gilbert says in the book that she put on two stone eating her way through Rome.

The book is a wonderful read. I’d recommend to see the film, then read the book for the real story, which is obviously more serious than the runaway bride movie version.

P.S. Number of bars of choc eaten during the film-none actually despite post title, seeing JF onscreen is enough of  a rush.

MW

 

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